Food corporation fined six-figure sum for worker's injury

A heavy machine fell from a forklift onto a worker, injuring the worker

Food corporation fined six-figure sum for worker's injury

Ontario employer Cargill Limited has been fined $100,000 after one of its workers was injured in the workplace.

Following a guilty plea at the provincial offences court in London, Ont., the employer must also pay a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act, to be credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

The penalty stems from an Oct. 26, 2020, incident at the company’s poultry processing facility at 10 Cuddy Blvd. in London.

Just after midnight on that day, workers at the facility were using a forklift to move a machine weighing about 900 kg from a maintenance area to the location where it was normally used.

Before doing the work, two workers and their supervisor discussed the weight and stability of the machine and talked about using a strap to secure the machine to the forklift. They then decided to use a Raymond Reach Forklift Truck to move the machine.

They planned to go slow and keep the load low to the ground to address the hazards. However, the team did not use a strap to brace the machine against the forklift mast, despite a strap being available. Instead, they loaded the machine across the forks of the forklift in a way that did not place the heaviest part of the machine against the forklift mast.

“This made the load less stable, and more susceptible to tipping,” according to the Ontario government.

The two workers then began to move the machine, with one worker driving the forklift and the other acting as a spotter. Partway through the trip a third worker joined the team as a second spotter.

The third worker saw a foot of the machine hit the ground and called to the driver to stop. The driver stopped and the third worker signaled the driver to lift the load slowly. The driver started adjusting the load, but moved the load down instead of up, then corrected by quickly lifting the load up again. This overcorrection caused the machine to tip.

As the machine tipped over, the first spotter was able to get out of the way, but the third worker was not. The machine landed on this worker, causing critical injuries.

Section 45(b) of the Ontario Regulation for Industrial Establishments requires materials, articles or things to be transported in such a way that they do not tip, collapse or fall.

“Cargill Limited contravened Section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act by failing, as a constructor, to ensure that the measures and procedures required by Section 45(b) of Ontario Regulation 851/90 were carried out,” according to the Ontario government.

Previously, Ontario employer Countrywide Recycling Inc. – a company that provides waste management and recovery services – was asked to pay $100,000 for one incident that left one of its workers fatally injured.

Also, British Columbia employer Van Isle Bricklok Surfacing and Landscape Supplies Ltd. – also known as Bricklok Surfacing – was fined $27,211.14 following an incident that left one worker injured.