Blog Post #734 – Gate Gourmet Canada Inc. Fined $58,000 After Worker Loses Fingers

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Gate Gourmet Canada Inc., an international airline caterer headquartered in Switzerland, has been fined $58,000 after a worker lost fingers while performing routine maintenance duties.

On May 21, 2013, the worker at the Gate Gourmet workplace located at 2498 Britannia Road East in Mississauga was assigned to perform seasonal preventative maintenance on exhaust fans located on the roof of the building.

The first step in the proper exhaust fan maintenance procedure is to turn off electrical power to the fan, and the worker did so as instructed. However, the worker did not wait for the motion to stop before commencing work, and as a result one of the worker’s hands was caught by the exposed moving drive belt pinch point; fingers were amputated. The worker was able to return to full-time hours by December 2013.

The company pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to ensure that the safety measures and procedures prescribed by law were carried out in the workplace – specifically that a part of a machine shall be adjusted, repaired or have maintenance work performed on it only when motion that may endanger a worker has stopped, and any part that has been stopped and may subsequently move and endanger a worker has been blocked to prevent its movement.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Darlene Florence in Brampton court December 9, 2014.

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:

Gate Gourmet Canada Inc. was found guilty of a violation of section 75 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 which states,

“A part of a machine, transmission machinery, device or thing shall be cleaned, oiled, adjusted, repaired or have maintenance work performed on it only when,

(a) Motion that may endanger a worker has stopped; and
(b) Any part that has been stopped and that may subsequently move and endanger a worker has been blocked to prevent its movement.”

Gates Gourmet Canada Inc. was also guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 1 (c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, (OHSA) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

(c) The measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”

Why is there not a set of written procedures dealing with the maintenance of the equipment and reviewed by the maintenance department prior to any work being done? This is a standard requirement for ‘Due Diligence’ and the employer really missed on this one. Mind you, if they had, then the potential hazards associated with the machine would have been identified, assessed and controlled prior.

Blocking the mechanism, and completing a ‘Lockout and Tagout’ procedure is crucial as described in section 75.
Ensure your workplace is a safe place. Your employees are entitled to work in a safe place. If you are a member of management then please read section 25 and 26 of the Ontario OHSA before you begin setting up the equipment and work assignments.

This is the law!!!

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’, ‘Maintenance Safety Awareness’, ‘Lockout and Tagout’ 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 Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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