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Dare Foods fined after worker injured by conveyor


January 5, 2016
By Ontario Ministry of Labour

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Jan. 5, 2016 – Dare Foods Limited, a maker of cookies, crackers and other foods, has pleaded guilty and has been fined $60,000 after a worker was injured while cleaning a roller on a conveyor.

On Aug. 18, 2014, at the company’s Kitchener, Ont., manufacturing operation, a sanitation worker was cleaning the roller of a tower stacking table. According to the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s (MOL’s) investigation, to clean the roller, sanitation workers are instructed to shut the conveyor off at the control box located at the end of the table. The part of the roller that is facing out is cleaned by sanitation workers using a paper towel-like cloth. Then the worker is required to walk back to the control box (a distance of about eight metres) to turn the conveyor on briefly to advance it a short distance, turn the conveyor off again and walk back to the end of the conveyor to clean the newly-exposed section of roller, repeating the process, explained the ministry.

The investigation found that at the time of the incident, the worker was cleaning the middle roller of the tower stacking table. After the roller had been cleaned, the worker noticed one spot hadn’t been cleaned and wanted to get to that spot while the conveyor was still running, noted the investigation. Holding on to the cleaning cloth, the worker began to clean the rotating roller when the cloth and the worker’s hand were pulled into the in-running nip hazard between the roller and the belt, causing injuries, said the MOL.

The investigation found that the rollers were not guarded in accordance with section 25 of Regulation 851 (the Industrial Establishments Regulation). The regulation states that “an in-running nip hazard or any part of a machine, device or thing that may endanger the safety of any worker shall be equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevents access to the pinch point.”

As such, the ministry deemed that Dare Foods failed as an employer to comply with its duties under section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which requires an employer to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by law are carried out in the workplace. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act.