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Company fined $70K after trainee worker gets caught in machinery


November 27, 2014
By Ontario Ministry of Labour

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Nov. 27, 2014 – Samuel, Son & Co., Ltd., in Burlington, Ont., has been fined $70,000 after a worker suffered fractures, other injuries and a partial finger amputation after being caught in machinery.

The incident occurred on June 7, 2013, when the worker was participating in peer-to-peer job advancement training with a senior operator who was also a lead hand. The task involved running four strands of plastic strapping repeatedly back and forth the full distance of the production line to allow the hot, freshly extruded plastic strapping to cool by air.

The trainee worker was instructed to shut down the machine and, while reaching for a side stop control panel near exposed rollers, one hand and forearm became entangled in plastic strapping, noted the Ministry of Labour (MOL), adding that as the worker tried to use the other hand, it also became caught.

The MOL investigation found that the lead hand witnessed the event and stopped the machine and co-workers used a hack saw to cut through the accumulation of strapping material and extricated the worker. The worker suffered bruising, sprains and bone fractures, and the amputation of the tip of one finger.

The company — also known as Go Packaging — pleaded guilty in court to failing to appoint a competent person as supervisor when it appointed the lead hand as the supervisor.

A competent person is defined as a person who is qualified because of knowledge, training and experience to organize the work and its performance; is familiar with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the regulations that apply to the work; and has knowledge of any potential or actual danger to health or safety in the workplace. According to the MOL, the employer had not made the lead hand familiar with the Occupational Health and Safety Act or the Industrial Establishments Regulation, which applied at the workplace, and thus the lead hand was not a competent person as defined by law.

In addition to the $70,000 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.