Peel Meat Packers fined $60,000 after worker injured during delivery of steer
Health & Safety Fines Meat Plant ontario
An Ontario meat packer has been fined $60,000 after a worker was injured during the delivery of a steer to a holding barn.
Peel Meat Packers Ltd. operates a holding barn facility in Drayton, Ont., where farmers deliver livestock. The barn is divided into five holding pens, a livestock chute and three gated aisles – one for animals and two for humans.
The livestock chute is a small, enclosed area which connects to the back of a farmer’s trailer. It has a gate, which is used to let animals into the livestock aisle and then into their pens. When the livestock gate is open it blocks access to the human side of the aisle and vise versa.
On June 14, 2022, the self-closing gate on the human side of the aisle had a broken spring and was not working.
A worker was assigned to greet a farmer, who was delivering a steer to the holding barn, and to complete the necessary paperwork.
When the farmer opened the back of their trailer, the steer came charging out. The farmer quickly stepped back into the livestock aisle, pulling the livestock gate closed, cutting off the steer’s access to the livestock aisle.
The animal, having nowhere else to go, ran down the human aisle through the gate left open due to the broken latch. The worker was still standing in the human aisle and was critically injured by the charging steer.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires that an employer ensure that equipment, materials and protective devices provided by them are maintained in good condition.
By failing to ensure the gate on human side of the aisle was maintained in good condition, Peel Meat Packers Ltd. violated section 25(1)(b) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Following the investigation by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, Peel Meat Packers Ltd. implemented several health and safety measures, including changes to limit workers’ interaction with animals.
Following a guilty plea in the Ontario Court of Justice in Guelph, Peel Meat Packers Ltd. was fined $60,000. 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.