Cutting Blade Injury Results in $40,000 Fine for Essex Company

November 26, 2020

Labour, Training and Skills Development

Convicted: Amer-Can Investments, Inc., carrying on business in partnership with C & C Canadian Holdings, Inc. as Delta Wire & Mfg., 2 Delta Drive, P.O. Box 1300, Harrow, Essex, Ontario. The business is a manufacturer of wire mesh, conveyor guarding, custom guarding, security fencing and power coating for residential, industrial and commercial uses.

Location: A factory at 29 Delta Drive, Harrow, Ontario.

Description of Offence: A worker was injured after coming into contact with a cutting blade, which should have been equipped with a guard to prevent injury as required by law.

Date of Offence: October 29, 2018.

Date of Conviction: November 20, 2020.

Penalty Imposed:

  • Following a guilty plea, Amer-Can Investments Inc. was fined $40,000 in provincial offences court in Windsor by Justice Susan Hoffman; Crown Counsel Judy L. Chan.
  • 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.

Background:

  • On October 29, 2018, a labourer was operating a shear cutter at the factory to turn a sheet of metal stock material into various smaller sizes.
  • The cutter was equipped with a home-made clamp-down device that had been fabricated to hold material in place prior to cycling the shear cutter. The task required continuous movement and re-positioning of the decreasing metal sheet as small pieces were cut off.  The metal sheet would become jammed in the cutter as it was fed under the clamp-down device.
  •  While trying to unjam the metal sheet on this occasion, the worker inadvertently activated the foot control pedal which cycles the shear press, and came in contact with the shear blade. The injury required surgery.
  • A Ministry of Labour Training and Skills Development investigation into the incident determined that although there was a manufacturer’s guard on the shear cutter, the attachment of the home-made clamp-down device on the cutter had pushed the guard out of position, resulting in a gap of approximately four inches between the bottom of the guard and the top of the shear bed.  This allowed access to the shear cutter’s moving blade.
  • Section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act states that an employer shall ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by the act and regulations are complied with. Section 24 of the Regulation for Industrial Establishments prescribes that where a machine or prime mover or transmission equipment has an exposed moving part that may endanger the safety of any worker, the machine or prime mover or transmission equipment shall be equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevents access to the moving part.
  • The defendant failed as an employer to ensure the measures and procedures prescribed by section 24 of the regulation were complied with, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the act.  This is an offence contrary to section 66(1) of the act.