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Printing plant owners fined $65K after worker critically injured in machinery


The owners of a defunct Ontario printing plant have been fined $65,000 after a worker suffered critical injuries from a press machine that was not locked out.

Following a guilty plea, Imprimeries Transcontinental 2005 S.E.N.C., (TC Transcontinental) a Quebec-based company that provides services in the commercial printing industry across Canada, received the fine in Ontario provincial court for their Brampton printing plant, which is now closed.

The court also 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.

On August 28, 2018, a worker suffered critical injuries from a moving chain on the draft shaft of a printing press.

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The printing press involved in the incident uses a drive mechanism to move flyers along a conveyor belt as part of the printing process.

While operating the press, one worker noticed that the flyers were not coming out in an orderly manner. That worker tried to troubleshoot the problem by turning off the power to the drive shaft and removing a fixed guard that was situated over the area where the chain met the drive shaft.

The worker did not lock-out the machine, a process where the controls for powering the drive shaft are locked and all energy is dispersed to prevent any inadvertent starting of the drive shaft.

That worker determined that maintenance personnel were required to address the problem with the drive shaft. The guard was still off the machine and, while the power to the drive shaft was off, the controls were not locked out. Before leaving the press area, the worker advised the other workers to not touch the press and to wait for maintenance to come and fix the problem.

Despite the worker’s direction, another worker came to the area and decided to troubleshoot the problem by trying to clean the chain, then turned on the power to the drive shaft. The drive shaft did not start so the worker proceeded to clean the chain further, but did not turn off the power prior to doing so. The drive shaft started suddenly and the worker was injured.

The then-Ministry of Labour investigated the incident and determined that the injured worker had not been trained on the hazards associated with not safely locking out the press machine. Further, workers were not provided with locks to ensure controls are locked out. Only maintenance personnel were provided with locks.

The investigation further found that press workers did, as a common aspect of their work, troubleshoot problems with the printing presses without locking out the controls.

It was left to their discretion whether to attempt to troubleshoot or call maintenance. Had the drive shaft been locked out by the first worker or anyone else, with the power dispersed and the controls locked to prevent starting, the injured worker would not have been able to start the drive shaft.

Section 25(2)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act requires an employer to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker.

As such, the company contravened section 25(2)(a) of the act by failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker in relation to safety locking out a drive shaft on a press machine.