Blog Post #213 – Paper Fibres Inc. Fined $100,000 after Worker Seriously Injured

Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Paper Fibres Inc., a Mississauga-based company, was fined $100,000 on July 13, 2010, for violating the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was seriously injured.

On March 18, 2009, a worker and a supervisor employed by Paper Fibres Inc. were working on a waste paper baling machine at the production plant at 6405 Northwest Drive in Mississauga. A piece of cardboard had become stuck in the hopper of the baling machine. The worker tried to remove it with a pole, but the pole fell into the hopper. The worker then went inside the hopper to remove the jam while the supervisor manned the controls. The machine cycled with the worker inside, causing serious injuries to the worker’s legs.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the machine was not locked out, and motion which could injure a worker was not stopped before the worker entered the hopper.

Paper Fibres Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to have maintenance work performed on a machine only when motion that may endanger a worker had stopped, and when switches and control mechanisms were locked out.

The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Jacques Desjardins. 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:

Paper Fibres Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of section 75(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 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.”

Paper Fibres Inc. was also found guilty of violating section 76(a) of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851 which states,

“Where the starting of a machine, transmission machinery, device or thing may endanger the safety of a worker,

a) Control switches or other control mechanisms shall be locked out; and
b) Other effective precautions necessary to prevent any starting shall be taken.”

I was totally surprised that the supervisor was not charged with section 27 of the OHSA, subsection 1(a), 2 (a), 2(b) and 2(c) which state,

“A supervisor shall ensure that a worker,

1(a) Works in a manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by this ACT and the regulations.

“A supervisor shall,

2(a) Advise a worker of the existence of any potential or actual danger to the health or safety of the worker of which the supervisor is aware;
2(b) Where so prescribed, provide a worker with written instructions as to the measures and procedures to be taken for protection of the worker; and
2(c) Take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the worker.”

There is enough here for the supervisor, who had a hand in the accident/incident, to have been charged with any or all of the above. If the supervisor was NOT aware of the measures as laid out in the OHSA then the employer is at fault and is in violation of section 25, subsection 2(c) which states,

“The employer shall,

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

How many other sections does this employer need to be violating before they get the picture? Sure, a $100,000 fine is a wonderful deterrent but the accident should never have had happened if proper Lockout/Tagout procedures were followed including the blocking of any mechanism that may move after reaching ‘Zero Energy State’.

As an instructor of Lockout and Tagout, it never ceases to amaze me when I have to report accidents such as this. Never, never, never is lockout and tagout to be bypassed for expediency! It is a lawful function of machine maintenance and is covered off in all of the 4 main Ontario workplace sectors.

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 ‘Electrical Safety Awareness’ 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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