Blog Post #786 – Cambridge Towel Company Fined $50,000 After Worker Injured

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Cambridge Towel Company Inc., a manufacturer of towels based in Cambridge, has pleaded guilty and has been fined $50,000 after a worker suffered hand injuries from running machinery.

On May 21, 2014, a worker was operating a cold pad machine, which is a machine designed to apply dye to towels, at the company’s textile plant on Dobbie Drive in Cambridge. Fabric is passed through two rollers to squeeze out excess dye; the non-moving parts of the machine are cleaned by hand with sponges prior to changing dyes while the moving parts are cleaned by sprayers with the machine running.

The worker was wiping the front of the machine with a sponge while it was running. Either the worker’s sponge or the glove the worker was wearing got caught in the in-running nip created by the two rollers. One hand was pulled in between the rollers. The worker reacted quickly, pulling the hand out of the rollers, but suffered partial amputation of fingers as well as bone and tissue damage.

Cambridge Towel pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to ensure the proper measures in the regulation were carried out in the workplace and was fined $50,000 in Kitchener court by Justice of the Peace Michael A. Cuthbertson on May 19.

Cambridge Towel is one of only two towel manufacturers remaining in North America.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

Cambridge Towel was found guilty of a contravention 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.”

Cambridge Towel was also found guilty of a contravention of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, (OHSA), section 25(1)(c) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

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

Section 25 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 could also been used. It states,

“An in-running nip hazard or any part of a machine, device or thing that may endanger the safety of any worker shall be equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevents access to the pinch point.”

How many times do you see a worker hurt or killed due to poor preparation? Where was the toolbox meeting? Where was the “competent” supervisor in all this? If he/she WAS “competent” then he/she was guilty of a violation of section 27 of the OHSA, sub-section 1 (a) which state,

“A supervisor shall ensure that a worker,

(a) works in the manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by this Act and the regulations.”

If the supervisor was NOT “competent” then the employer was guilty of a violation of section 25 of the OHSA, sub-section 2 (c) which states,

“An employer shall,

(c) when appointing a supervisor, appoint a competent person.”

Other questions were not asked and answered? Are there a set of written work instructions for this application? Again, if not, the employer is guilty of a violation of section 25 of the OHSA, sub-section 2 (a) which states,

“An employer shall,

(a) provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker.”

Too many things went wrong here. A set of safe work written instructions, along with proper supervision, could have helped in the avoidance of this accident!

HRS Group Inc. stands ready to aid any employer in developing a safe culture in their company. Call us at 1-877-907-7744 and ask Deborah to set up a meeting. Our training costs, for large groups, can create great savings for your company. Check out our website at You will certainly be glad you did!

Ensure your workplace is a safe place!

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’, ‘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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