On December 1, 2010, a worker was operating a palletizer machine at the company’s Brampton plant when the worker noticed that cases of product were becoming stuck on transfer plates. The palletizer machine loads beverage product cases onto pallets for shipping. Due to spillage of pop products, transfer plates become sticky and often interfere with the movement and proper alignment of beverage product cases. Workers commonly spray the plates with an aerosol silicone spray to overcome the sticking. The safety equipment on the palletizer machines includes a gate that is interlocked so the palletizer machine stops if the gate is opened.
In this incident, the worker proceeded to reach inside the opening in the gate to spray the plate with silicone without shutting off the production line. As the worker did so, a push bar cycled on and pinched the worker's arm between the push bar and a metal support beam. The worker suffered a fractured arm as a result.
Coca-Cola Bottling Company pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to ensure that an in-running nip hazard on the palletizer that endangered the safety of a worker was equipped with and guarded with a device that prevents access to the pinch point as required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and was fined $70,000. 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.