Employer fined $90,000
Burlington, Ont.-based employer Cogent Power Inc. was fined $90,000 after one of its workers was caught in moving machinery which had not been equipped with a guard or other device to prevent access to a pinch point, causing injury.
The incident took place in the company's manufacturing plant located at its Laurentian Drive head office location in Burlington on May 22, 2019. On that day, a worker was training another worker on how to operate a forming machine known as the Former #5 – a four-piston hydraulic table press with four dies that is used to form products known as 'rounds'. Rounds are used in the electrical energy sector.
The Former #5 is normally operated by a single worker who stands at the control panel located on the east side of the equipment. That side of the equipment is equipped with a light curtain to protect the operator. When a light curtain is interrupted, the machine stops and cannot be activated until the worker leaves the hazardous envelope and the light curtain is restored.
While the trainee was operating the controls at the east side, the trainer noticed an issue with the product being formed and proceeded to the west side of the machine to inspect the product while it remained in the Former. The four dies were extended and secure against the product.
The trainer then accidentally dropped a glove into the area. When the trainer reached out to retrieve the glove, the trainee inadvertently released the dies and the trainer was caught in a pinch point between the moving south die and its housing, causing injury. The trainer was transported to the hospital for medical attention.
The investigation conducted by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development concluded that the west side of the Former #5, where workers had access, was not equipped with a guard or device to prevent a worker from being caught or pinched between moving parts.
“The defendant failed to ensure the west side of the equipment was equipped with a guard or a device of some kind to prevent access to the pinch point created when the dies were in movement,” said the government. “As such, the defendant failed to comply with section 25 of the Industrial Establishments Regulation (Regulation 851) and thereby did violate section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.”
The company was also given a 25-per-cent surcharge after pleading guilty to the violation. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.