Mushroom Farm Injury Results in $75,000 Fine in Leamington
Convicted: Highline Produce Limited. Head office: 66 Wellington Street West, TD Bank Tower, Suite 5300, Toronto Ontario; a company that grows and sells mushrooms at four locations in Ontario.
Location: The company's principal facility at 506 Mersea Road 5, Leamington, Ontario.
Description of Offence: A worker was injured after becoming caught in a moving cable and suffered a critical injury.
Date of Offence: May 15, 2018.
Date of Conviction: May 16, 2019.
· Following a guilty plea, Highline Produce Limited was fined $75,000 in Leamington provincial court by Justice of the Peace 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.
- Workers were conducting "filling operations" in a mushroom "grow room." This task involves using a hydraulic winch to pull netting along the mushroom grow beds, filling the beds with compost as it does so. These winches are called "net winch pullers."
- One worker was operating the net winch puller on Row #3 by guiding the two hydraulic winch cables connected to the netting into the winch.
- While guiding the cables into the winch, the worker was caught by one of the cables as it wrapped around the roller of the winch assembly. The worker was entangled and pulled into the winch assembly which formed a pinch point. The worker suffered a critical injury as a result.
- A Ministry of Labour investigation determined that the hydraulic net winch puller on Row #3 in that grow room was not equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevented access to the pinch point.Section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act provides that "an employer shall take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker at a workplace."
- Highline failed to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that the hydraulic net winch puller on Row #3 in that grow room was equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevented access to the pinch point, contrary to section 25(2)(h) of the act. This is an offence pursuant to section 66(1) of the act.