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Willow Hawk Farms Inc. Fined $18,000 After Worker Injured

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Willow Hawk Farms Inc. Fined $18,000 After Worker Injured

Ministry of Labour

ST. THOMAS, ON - Willow Hawk Farms Inc., a small family farming operation, has been fined $18,000 after a worker was injured by a mechanism used in processing soy beans.

On April 16, 2013, a worker was employed at the farming operation located at 569757 Carson Line in Bayham, Ontario, sweeping soy beans into a dryer bin. The device uses two augers to move crop products - in this case, soy beans - into the centre of the bin. A sweep auger is located on top of the floor of the bin while a floor auger is located beneath it. Both augers have a 'flight' or shaft with a broad helical flange which rotates when the auger is under power. One end of the sweep auger is fixed in the centre of the floor and the other end moves in an arc across the floor. While it does so, the flight rotates toward the centre to move the soy beans.

The sweep auger was rotating while the worker was sweeping soy beans missed by the flight into the centre. As it rotated, the worker's clothing was caught in the auger and the worker was thrown forward into the path of the auger. One leg was caught under the auger and the worker suffered a laceration and soft tissue damage to the leg. A Ministry of Labour investigation followed.

The manual of operating instructions for the augur states several times that no one should enter the bin unless the power to the sweep auger is disconnected and locked out. On the day in question, the sweep auger was not disconnected.

Willow Hawk Farms pleaded guilty to failing to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that the manufacturer's instructions for safe operation of the bin sweep auger were complied with and was fined $18,000 by Justice of the Peace Sonia Aleong.

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.


Court Information at a Glance

Location:

Elgin County Courthouse

4 Wellington Street

St. Thomas, Ontario
                                   

Judge:

Justice of the Peace Sonia Aleong

                                   

Date of Sentencing:

July 25, 2014


Defendant:

Willow Hawk Farms Inc.

243781 Airport Road

RR 7

Tillsonburg, Ontario


Matter:

Occupational health and safety

                                   

Conviction:

Occupational Health and Safety Act, Section 25 (2)(h)

                                                           

Crown Counsel:
Judy L. Chan


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Law and Safety Rural and North