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Food manufacturer fined $50K after worker injured by machine


An Ontario food manufacturer has been fined $50,000 in provincial offences court after pleading guilty to an incident involving a worker injury at its Toronto plant.

Select Food Products, Limited, which manufactures, produces and packages sauces and condiments, also received a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

An investigation conducted by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development found that on April 17, 2019, a linesperson employed by Select Food Products, Limited was operating a labeler machine on a salad dressing line.

The worker was trying to remove a label that was stuck on a gluing pallet (also referred to as a labeler plate), inside the machine.

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The labeler machine puts labels on the front and back of salad dressing bottles and has hinged access doors equipped with interlocking devices, which are designed to stop the motion of the machine when the doors are opened.

The machine was equipped with a safety bypass switch that allowed the interlocking devices for the hinged access doors to be bypassed, allowing worker access to hazardous moving parts and pinch points such as those created by the motion of the gluing pallets and the glue roller.

With the safety bypass switch in the “safety off” position, the worker opened the middle hinged access door and reached in to remove a label that was jammed on the gluing pallet by the back label applicator.

This resulted in pinching between a gluing pallet and the glue roller, and the worker was injured.

The investigation by the ministry found that the labeler machine was not equipped with a guard that prevented access to the pinch point.

This is contrary to section 25 of Ontario Regulation 851 (the Industrial Establishments Regulation), which 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.”

The Occupational Health and Safety Act states that an employer shall ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.