Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Ventra Group Company, a Nova Scotia corporation registered to conduct business in Ontario. Ventra operates a plant at 775 Technology Drive in Peterborough which manufactures injection moulded plastic vehicle components.
A worker was critically injured after being caught in machinery on September 30, 2017 and was convicted on the offence on March 4, 2019.
Ventra retained a contractor to provide industrial cleaning services at the plant. An employee of the cleaning service was working alone, cleaning the area around various injection moulding machines.
The worker approached the robot cage at an injection moulding machine, intending to enter for cleaning purposes. Two robots located inside the cage pick, trim and place vehicle bumpers from the injection moulding machine onto a conveyor. The door to the robot cage was interlocked so as to shut both robots down upon opening the door. The interlock did not shut down the parts conveyor.
The parts conveyor was partially inside and partially outside the robot cage, and remained continuously running. The worker entered the robot cage through the door to clean inside, and then exited to clean an area outside the cage near the conveyor.
Seeing some spent plastic pellets under the conveyor, the worker reached between existing guards on the conveyor, and was placed beneath the conveyor to sweep the pellets with one hand. To access the moving drive shaft area, the worker squeezed through a small gap. The worker’s hair was caught by a rotating drive shaft located near the tail pulley and beneath the conveyor. The rotating drive shaft was not visible to a person standing beside the conveyor.
The worker received a critical injury but was able to move away from the machine and was eventually attended to by paramedics.
Ventra performs regular pre-start engineering reviews on its equipment as required by Occupational Health and Safety Act regulations.
As part of a pre-start review for the robots related to the injection molding machine, Ventra had retained an engineer to examine the robots for compliance with applicable regulations and standards. The engineer considered the involved conveyor and made a recommendation for additional guarding on top of the conveyor, which Ventra followed. In fact, the existing guards at the side of the conveyor near the tail pulley allowed, albeit with some difficulty, access by the involved worker through the small gap to the area underneath the conveyor and the drive shaft.
Following a guilty plea, Ventra Group Company was fined $130,000 in Peterborough court by Justice of the Peace Jason Mariasine; Crown Counsel Wes Wilson.
The court also 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.
The law(s) in contravention:
Ventra Group Company was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90, section 24 which states,
“Where a machine or prime mover or transmission equipment has an exposed moving part that may endanger the safety of any worker, the machine or prime mover or transmission equipment shall be equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevents access to the moving part.”
Ventra Group Company was also found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) section 25, subsection 1(c) which states,
“An employer shall ensure that,
(c) the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”
Where was the OH&S committee? Were the committee members trained to recognize Machine Guarding hazards or were they not aware of the dangers. Regardless, the employer is at fault for not assembling properly guarded equipment and the contractor was critically injured. For those not understanding the term “Critical Injury”, I have listed the criteria below:
Ontario regulation 834
“ “critically injured” means an injury of a serious nature that,
(a) places life in jeopardy,
(b) produces unconsciousness,
(c) results in substantial loss of blood,
(d) involves the fracture of a leg or arm but not a finger or toe,
(e) involves the amputation of a leg, arm, hand or foot but not a finger or toe,
(f) consists of burns to a major portion of the body, or
(g) causes the loss of sight in an eye.”
I believe that management and the OH&S committee could use training in Machine Guarding. We can help them there as HRS Group Inc. is a health and safety provider in the same city and can be readily available and is always willing to help.
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’, ‘Machine Guarding’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.