Auger system injury lead to fine for employer

Saskatchewan firm must pay $46,000 in total

Saskatchewan employer Pedigree Poultry has been fined a total of $46,000 after one of its workers was injured in the workplace.

The incident happened on July 10, 2021, near Regina Beach. On that day, a worker’s foot got entangled within a horizontal auger system. The worker suffered a serious injury. 

Earlier this year, the employer pleaded guilty in Regina Provincial Court to one violation of The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 2020.

The company was fined for contravening clause 3-1 (a) of the regulations, or being an employer, failing “to provide and maintain plant, systems of work and working environments that ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of the employers workers, resulting in a serious injury to a worker),” said the Saskatchewa government.

The court imposed a fine of $32,857.14, with a surcharge of $13,142.86.

Previously, Saskatchewan-based Horizon Drilling was fined a total of $150,000 after a worker suffered serious injuries while attempting to diagnose a hydraulic line that was leaking hydraulic oil near the Kisbey village.

Auger system safety

According to the University of Arkansas System (UofA) Division of Agriculture, the following are among the typical incidents that result in auger-related injuries:

  • contact with or entanglement in the exposed screw at the intake
  • entanglement in a drive belt
  • being struck by an uncontrolled spinning crank used to raise or lower the auger
  • entanglement in a PTO drive shaft
  • electrocution while moving a raised grain auger around the farmstead and contact with an overhead electrical wire
  • maintenance is neglected or overlooked
  • carelessness in auger handling
  • operator’s unfamiliarity with auger safety and operation
  • inexperienced youth labour

UofA has the following recommendations, among others, for reducing risks associated with grain auger use:

  • Always leave shields in place.
  • Start grain augers safely as instructed in the operator’s manual.
  • Empty the auger before stopping it. 
  • Follow previously listed precautions when moving augers.
  • Adjust grain auger height carefully.
  • Do not try to grab the crank if it is rotating.
  • Set up augers carefully and block the wheels to prevent rolling in all directions prior to use.
  • Never wear loose clothing, jewelry or have long hair untied while working near or operating a grain auger.
  • Limit the number of people around the auger when in use.
  • Use barriers (e.g., fences) to prevent individuals not involved in the operation of an auger from entering the area.

Here’s how to create a safe work environment for your employees.