Cracker company fined after worker suffers injuries from conveyor

Monday July 04, 2016
Written by Ontario Ministry of Labour
Jul. 4, 2016 - BFG Canada Ltd., a cracker manufacturer, pleaded guilty and was fined $110,000 after a worker suffered permanent injuries when a hand was pulled into machinery. The incident occurred on December 5, 2014, at the company’s manufacturing facility in Kitchener, Ont.

Part of the company’s cracker manufacturing facility consisted of an incline conveyor system used to cool crackers and transport them through the processing line. The incline conveyor system was driven by a 6- to 7-foot-wide powered roller that rotated counter-clockwise, pulling the conveyor belt forward. One centimetre from the powered roller was an additional roller rotating clockwise to guide the belt. This combination of rollers created a pinch point.  

On the day of the incident, the powered roller was slipping and therefore unable to move the conveyor belt forward. A worker was instructed by a BFG lead hand to troubleshoot and repair this problem.

While the machine was still running, the injured worker noticed a piece of grip tape was sticking out from the edge of the powered roller, less than 12 inches from the pinch point, and grabbed the grip tape to tear it off the roller. In doing so a hand was pulled into the pinch point.

The injured worker managed to switch off the machine and was freed about 40 minutes later by emergency personnel who transported the worker to hospital.

The worker sustained serious injuries and suffers permanent restrictions.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to ensure a guard or other device was in place on the conveyor system to protect a worker from an in-running nip hazard as required by Section 25 of the Industrial Establishments Regulation, which was a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

BFG Canada Ltd. was fined $110,000 in Kitchener court by Justice of the Peace Adriana Magoulas on June 13, 2016.

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.

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