Weston Bakeries Fined $65,000 for Worker Injury in Etobicoke
Convicted: Weston Bakeries Ltd., 1425 The Queensway, Etobicoke, Ontario, a division of George Weston Ltd. and a provider of fresh and frozen baked products.
Location of Workplace: The company's facility at 273 Edgeley Boulevard, Concord, Ontario.
Description of Offence: A worker was critically injured after being caught in a conveyor belt.
Date of Offence: July 20, 2017.
Date of Conviction: December 14, 2018.
- Following a guilty plea, the company was fined $65,000 by Justice of the Peace Donovan Robinson in provincial offences court in Newmarket; Crown Counsel Marco Galluzzo.
- 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 the day of the injury, a worker started a shift as the divider line operator, which requires monitoring dough divider lines and ensuring that the dough is formed to the correct weight.
- The worker noticed that there was a build-up of dough at the transition between the divider conveyor and the former conveyor. At this point, the worker used an air-line to blow the dough bits off the conveyor belt; despite these efforts, the worker was unable to remove the excess dough.
- The worker then tried to brush off the dough. In doing so, the worker became caught between the transition area of the two conveyor belts and was unable to reach the emergency pull cord.
- The local fire rescue service needed to take the conveyor line structure apart in order to free the worker. The worker was critically injured.
- Although there was normally a guard that would have prevented this from occurring, the guard had been removed and was placed on the floor beside the divider line.
- The guard was equipped with a small pressure switch that is used to interlock the cover guarding the divider former lines. When the guard is removed, the conveyor belts between the divider and former lines are supposed to shut down. The interlock pressure switch on the guard was not maintained by the employer and had not worked for years.
- Ontario Regulation 851/90 (the Industrial Establishments Regulation) applies to the workplace and section 25(1)(b) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act stipulates that an employer must ensure equipment, materials and protective devices provided by the employer are maintained in good condition. Weston Bakeries failed to comply with that obligation by not ensuring the interlock pressure switch was maintained in good condition.