Ontario plastics company fined $80,000 after worker hurt while cleaning machine
Health & Safety Fines ontario
A plastics company based in Kitchener, Ont., has been fined $80,000 after a worker was injured while cleaning a machine.
Ultra Manufacturing Limited operates a facility in neighbouring Waterloo, Ont., that manufactures plastic interior automotive parts, using injection moulding.
On March 24, 2022, a worker was cleaning the hopper (or colour feeder) of the plastic injection molding machine, so that the colour could be changed.
To clean the magnet inside the hopper, a worker must open a window on the front of the hopper, which is about eight feet above the ground, using a platform ladder that is usually affixed to the outside of the machine. The cleaning is done using an air gun to blow material out of the hopper.
However, on this particular machine, the ladder was on the opposite side of the machine to where the access window was located.
Because the platform ladder was on the other side, the worker climbed the machine and stood on the side of the machine, itself, to blow out the hopper.
Subsequently, the worker lost balance and slipped to the ground below, sustaining serious injuries.
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.
Ultra Manufacturing Limited failed, as an employer, to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that the platform ladder on the plastic injection molding machine was positioned correctly to allow a worker to clean the hopper safely, contrary to the Act.
Following a guilty plea in the Ontario Court of Justice, Ultra Manufacturing Limited was fined $80,000. 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.