Weston Bakeries fined $65,000 for worker injury

Worker caught in conveyor belt, guard had been removed

Weston Bakeries fined $65,000 for worker injury

Weston Bakeries,  a division of George Weston Ltd., has been fined $65,000 for the critical injury of a worker who was caught in a conveyor belt. The court also imposed a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act.


On July 20, 2017, a worker started a shift at the company’s facility in Concord, Ont., as the divider line operator, which requires monitoring dough divider lines and ensuring that the dough is formed to the correct weight.


The worker noticed that there was a build-up of dough at the transition between the divider conveyor and the former conveyor. At this point, the worker used an air-line to blow the dough bits off the conveyor belt. Despite these efforts, the worker was unable to remove the excess dough.


The worker then tried to brush off the dough. In doing so, the worker became caught between the transition area of the two conveyor belts and was unable to reach the emergency pull cord.


The local fire rescue service needed to take the conveyor line structure apart in order to free the worker. The worker was critically injured.


Although there was normally a guard that would have prevented this from occurring, the guard had been removed and was placed on the floor beside the divider line.


The guard was equipped with a small pressure switch that is used to interlock the cover guarding the divider former lines. When the guard is removed, the conveyor belts between the divider and former lines are supposed to shut down. The interlock pressure switch on the guard was not maintained by the employer and had not worked for years.


Ontario Regulation 851/90 (the Industrial Establishments Regulation) applies to the workplace and section 25(1)(b) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act stipulates that an employer must ensure equipment, materials and protective devices provided by the employer are maintained in good condition. Weston Bakeries failed to comply with that obligation by not ensuring the interlock pressure switch was maintained in good condition.


Source: Ontario Ministry of Labour