Chemical manufacturer fined $100K for critical worker injury
May 9, 2019 – A manufacturer of chemical products has been fined $100,000 by the Ontario Ministry of Labour after a worker was critically and permanently injured at its plant.
Recochem Inc., a Milton, Ontario company that produces, packages and distributes chemical products such as windshield washer fluid, automotive antifreeze, diesel exhaust fluid and a variety of household solvents and cleaners, pled guilty to the charge.
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 November 17, 2017, a worker was operating a plastic blow-moulding machine at the workplace. The machine manufactures 10-litre plastic bottles used in the production of various liquid products from Recochem's product line.
The worker was notified about issues with the quality of the bottles that the machine was producing.
While the machine was in operation, the worker opened a steel-framed door and climbed to the top of the machine to determine if there was a blockage in the exhaust pipe.
Upon reaching the top of the machine, the worker tripped and fell, becoming caught in an area where sharp moving parts were opening and closing. The worker suffered a critical injury. Emergency medical services were dispatched and the worker was transported to hospital.
Investigation by the Ministry of Labour revealed that there were no guards or other devices preventing access to the area of the machine where the injury occurred. In addition, the door where the worker entered the machine was not locked or equipped with an interlock.
A Ministry of Labour inspector ordered Recochem to guard the machinery and the company complied by installing an e-stop and added additional guarding to the exterior of the machine.
Section 24 of Ontario's Regulation 851 (the Industrial Establishments Regulation) requires that, "[w]here a machine ... has an exposed moving part that may endanger the safety of any worker, the machine ... shall be equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevents access to the moving part."
Recochem Inc. failed to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by section 24 of Regulation 851 were carried out at the workplace.
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