OHS Canada Magazine

Cracker and snack maker modified machine to bypass guard, resulting in worker injury and $100,000 fine

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February 10, 2023
By OHS Canada

Health & Safety Fines Food Handi Foods

Handi Foods Ltd., a cracker and snack manufacturer with a head office at 190 Norelco Drive, Toronto. Photo: Google Streetview

A cracker and snack manufacturer in Toronto has been fined $100,000 after a worker was severely injured by unguarded equipment.

On Oct. 27, 2021, a worker at the Handi Foods Ltd. plant was stationed at a production line that was making crackers.

The worker noticed dough accumulating in a roller and attempted to dislodge it, while the machine was operating, by using a tool that could fit through an opening in the mesh cover guard that prevented access to the machine’s pinch point.

When that failed, the worker lifted the hinged cover guard, reached into the area to remove the dough and got caught in the pinch point, becoming severely injured.

The guard was equipped with an interlock switch that was supposed to automatically stop the machine when it was lifted, to prevent injury.


However, four days prior the maintenance supervisor had directed a bypass to be installed, allowing the guard to be lifted without stopping the machine. The interlock had been malfunctioning, preventing the machine from running smoothly.

A danger sign was placed on the guard to remind workers about the bypass.

Manufacturer’s documentation for the machine stated that its interlocks and guards should not be bypassed.

Handi Foods Ltd. violated Section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act by failing, as an employer, to ensure an in-running nip hazard was equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevents access to the pinch point, as required by Ontario Regulation 851, Section 25.

The company has a prior conviction relating to a worker being injured by unguarded equipment in 2007. Similar bypass devices had also been installed on other machinery at their facility at least twice prior to this most recent incident.

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.


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