Blog Post #173 – Georgia-Pacific Fined $75,000 After Worker Injured

Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Georgia-Pacific Canada, Consumer Products, ULC, a manufacturer of paper, building and consumer products, pleaded guilty and was fined $75,000 on December 2, 2009, for a contravention of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was injured.

On March 8, 2008, a worker at the company’s facility in Toronto was trying to clear a jam in a “bagger machine.” The worker opened the guard around the machine to clear paper cups that had fallen. The worker’s sleeve was caught in the machine’s rotating shaft. The worker’s arm was pulled into the machine and injured.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that it was standard procedure for workers to leave the machine running while clearing fallen cups. Accordingly, the worker had not been told to ensure the rotating shaft had stopped before reaching inside.

Georgia-Pacific Canada, Consumer Products, ULC pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the machine had maintenance work performed on it only when motion that may endanger a worker had stopped.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Lena Crawford. 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:

Georgia-Pacific Canada was found guilty of a contravention of section 75, sub-section (a) of the ‘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 when,

(a) Motion that may endanger a worker has stopped.”

Do you know how often I find companies like this one not understand the ACT and the section of the regulations that they should be fully aware of? Why would any person not understand that a moving part of a machine can be dangerous? It can be life threatening! Ask the family of David Ellis if machine guarding is important or not! (read blog created on January 12, 2011, Youth Safety in Ontario — Where it all started)

Any time you can come in contact with a moving part or pinchpoint the machine must be guarded by a guard to prevent this. This does not only include the actual operation but the maintenance of the machine as well. There are no exceptions.

It was just a matter of time before something like this would have happened. I did not say it MAY have happened, but WOULD have happened.

Take it from me, it is cheaper to incorporate health and safety into every aspect of your business than the alternative. Make sure you hire someone with a health and safety background, preferable with one of the 3 designations; 1) CRSP, 2) CHSEP or 3) CHSC. Have them design your processes with the health and safety of your employees the top of the priority list. If you do not think you can afford to do this, then ask Georgia-Pacific if they have it in place now. $75,000 (plus the 25% surcharge) is not too much to pay to keep one’s shop floor safe.

This is not China where safety takes a back seat!

By the way, this is the start of my second year of health and safety blogging. At present, including this blog, I have 176 entries and over 19,400 comments. Not bad for a year’s work!

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety need including ‘Machine Guarding’ and ‘Lockout and Tagout’. 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 – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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