Machine & Operator Safety
Operations & Management
Colortech production line worker burned, permanently injured
December 4, 2014 by Ontario Ministry of Labour
Dec. 4, 2014 – Colortech, a manufacturer of colour concentrated plastic additives, has been fined $80,000 after a worker was severely burned and suffered permanent injuries.
On September 26, 2012, an employee was working at Colortech’s facility in Brampton, Ont., on a production line of processing equipment used to mix, heat, form and cut plastic into small pellets.
At about 1 a.m., some of the heaters near the die on the line stopped operating. A plant electrician attended and repaired the wiring at 3:20 a.m. Elsewhere in the line, the heaters remained operational and the hot molten plastic caused a buildup of pressure and gases at the blocked die and screen changer.
As part of the procedure to restart the line, the worker was required to change the screen in the screen changer. During this change, there was an unexpected release of pressure which resulted in the release of hot liquefied plastic, causing second degree burns to multiple parts of the body, noted the Ministry of Labour (MOL). The worker also inhaled the hot gases, resulting in internal injuries.
The worker is not expected to recover or be able to return to work, according to the ministry.
The MOL investigation found that the production line’s screen changer was not equipped with a shield or guard to prevent workers from being injured by hot plastic or gasses. The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires a machine be shielded or guarded so that the product or material being processed does not endanger the safety of any worker.
Colortech pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by Section 26 of the Industrial Regulation were carried out in the workplace, and was fined $80,000.
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.