Blog Post #53 – Estee Lauder Cosmetics Ltd. Fined $62,000 After Worker Injured

Excerpts from the Ontario government ‘Newsroom’

Estee Lauder Cosmetics Ltd., which operates a manufacturing facility in Scarborough, was fined $62,000 on January 25, 2010, for a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was injured.

On August 16, 2008, at the Scarborough facility, a temporary worker was manually adding lids to containers filled with product by a machine on a production line. The worker noticed that one of the filling nozzles did not have a container under it and tried to stop the product from coming out. The nozzle moved down and punctured the worker’s hand.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found there was no guard protecting the worker from the filler nozzles on the machine.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Joanna T. Opalinski. 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:

Estee Lauder Cosmetics Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90, section 24 which states,

“When 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 device that prevents access to the moving part.”

I wonder if a professional engineer didn’t design this particular machine with the appropriate guards in place. I am also interested to find out if the manufacturer has machine guards already part of the assembly and Estee Lauder attempted to bypass.

The JHSC, if one exists, needs to continually update their education and learn more about the separate sections of the regulations. There are courses on Machine Guarding, Fall Protection, Confined Space Entry, just to name a few. It is their responsibility to learn all they can to better serve the rank and file.

Either way, Estee Lauder is responsible for the health and safety of their workers. The employer could have been charged under section 25, subsection 2(h),

“The employer shall take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the worker.”

The direct supervisor might have also been charged under section 27 of the ACT, subsection 2(c),

“The supervisor shall take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”

It is my belief that the employer and supervisor would have received the additional penalties if the accident ended up lethal.

It is a good lesson to learn for all companies to study the green book and learn all they can about compliance.

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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

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