KITCHENER, ON – Dare Foods Limited pleaded guilty and has been fined $67,500 after a new worker was injured while cleaning an overhead conveyor.
The incident took place on March 1, 2016 at Dare’s Kitchener plant, located at 2481 Kingsway Drive, which produces a variety of snack foods such as cookies and crackers.
A worker who began employment at the plant on January 26 was assigned to clean an overhead cross conveyor and a transfer conveyor. The task was to clean and remove the cookie crumb accumulation from the conveyors and stainless-steel belt rollers; the overhead conveyors are almost 10 feet above floor level. The shift on that day was the first shift in which the worker no longer had a ‘buddy trainer’ on hand.
Using a mobile ladder platform, the worker ascended the steps and began wiping down the rollers and conveyor belt using a cloth similar to a paper towel. After finishing this task the worker moved the mobile ladder platform to a position underneath the transfer conveyor and ascended the steps, then reached up while holding the cloth. The worker was about to wipe the cookie crumbs off the stainless-steel belt roller and was pulled into an in-running nip hazard, sustaining a fracture.
Dare Foods Limited failed as an employer to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by section 25 of Ontario’s Industrial Establishments Regulation (Regulation 851) were carried out. That regulation 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.”
Dare was fined $67,500 by Justice of the Peace Michael A. Cuthbertson in Kitchener court on June 9, 2017.
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.
New and young workers in Ontario are more likely to be injured during the first few months on the job than other workers, and are three times more likely to be injured during their first month on the job than at any other time.
– Ministry of Labour