Blog Post #672 – Monaghan Mushrooms Ltd. Pleads Guilty, Fined $140,000 after Death of Worker

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Following the death of a worker, Monaghan Mushrooms Ltd., a Campbellville mushroom grower, has pleaded guilty to failing to take reasonable precautions for the safety of workers and has been fined $140,000.

In the fall of 2011, the company’s mushroom farming facility at 7345 Guelph Line, Campbellville had been undergoing an extensive construction project that included new concrete pads, drainage and new buildings. On December 20, a section of the farm that included a new concrete pad was turned over to Monaghan Mushrooms so the company could resume farming operations on that part of the site.

On that day, a Monaghan Mushrooms employee began driving a front-end loader back and forth on the new pad in order to pick up compost from one end of the pad and drop it into a hopper at the other end of the pad. This task required the driver to operate in forward and reverse, and workers were crossing the pad while this activity was underway.

A worker employed by a sub-contractor was crossing the concrete pad and was struck by the front-end loader while it was operating in reverse; the worker was pronounced dead at the scene.

In court on April 8, 2014 Monaghan Mushrooms pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker, specifically for failing to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that workers did not walk on a concrete pad while a wheel loader was being operated. The company was fined $140,000 by Judge Richard J. LeDressay in Burlington.

In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

Monaghan Mushrooms was found guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 2(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, (OHSA) which states,

“An employer shall,

Take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”

Here we have the unsafe use of heavy equipment. Every trainer operator of heavy equipment knows the dangers of hitting pedestrians and the employer MUST recognize that fact and place some sort of controls in place to protect all those on the worksite.

Monaghan Mushrooms failed in this regard and someone was killed.

By the way, where was the supervisor, the tailgate meeting and the SOPs? There were many more possible contraventions that could have been used as well but the fine was in-line with the severity of the accident and should be an excellent deterrent.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal – CHSEP – Advanced
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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