$170,000 fine for Mississauga company after critical injury to worker

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Published December 8, 2023 at 5:59 pm

Maple Leaf Foods in Mississauga fined $170,000.

A Mississauga company has been hit with a $170,000 fine after a worker at its Brantford facility was critically injured while conducting maintenance and repair on two industrial fans.

According to an Ontario Ministry of Labour news release, Maple Leaf Foods, Inc., located on Financial Drive in Mississauga, pleaded guilty in Brantford court on Oct. 31 to failing as an employer to ensure applicable requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The incident happened at the company’s Canning Street location in Brantford on Jan. 19, 2022, the news release stated. Maple Leaf Foods is a prepared meats and poultry producer.

In addition to the $170,000 fine imposed by a Justice of the Peace, 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.

According to the ministry, the worker was an apprentice millwright employed by a third-party company and was conducting maintenance and repair work at the Brantford facility when the accident happened.

“The worker was sent to investigate the malfunction of two process fans located inside a freezer,” the ministry said in the news release. “Upon inspection of the fans, the worker observed there were openings in the guard over one fan, which was made from metal tines or bars.”

The news release continues, noting that the worker then reached through one of the openings of the fan guard to attempt to turn the fan blades and free any possible obstruction.

“Unfortunately, the fans were operating at full speed, and thus caused a critical injury,” the ministry stated.

A follow-up interview of the worker by the ministry revealed that the “worker demonstrated a lack of knowledge on how to properly lock out the fans to ensure they were not operational.”

It was later discovered, according to the ministry, that a secondary electrical panel needed to be locked out or switched off to isolate the electrical supply to the fan involved, but the panel was broken at the time.

“This made it impossible to lock out the fan even if the worker knew how to lock it out properly,” the ministry said.

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