Kubota guilty of failing to guard sieving machine that injured worker
Kubota Materials Canada Corporation has been convicted and fined $90,000 after failing to equip one of its industrial machines with the necessary guards, causing serious injuries to an employee.
Kubota Materials Canada, a foundry and materials fabricator operating in Orillia, Ontario, had a sieving classifier – a type of machine it used in the process of refining an asbestos alternative called TXAX and used as friction material in the brake and clutch parts of automobiles and other machines. The sieving classifier refined the TXAX into a powdered substance.
In October 2021, a worker operating the sieving classifier noticed that the machine was blocked. The collection bucket located below the rotary valve had stopped filling with material. The worker tried to manually clear the blockage and failed to notice that the bottom of the machine he had reached into also housed an exposed moving part. He was seriously injured as a result.
The court that convicted Kubota Materials Canada noted that the sieving classifier did not have a guard to prevent access to the machine’s moving parts, in violation of the company’s safety procedures.
The company failed to ensure that its own industrial machine was equipped with a guard or some other device that would prevent access to the exposed moving parts. It thus endangered the safety of the worker in violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which required employers to make sure that “the measures and procedures prescribed” are actually carried out in the workplace.
Kubota Materials Canada was convicted on January 19, 2023, or a little over a year after the incident took place.
Kubota was thus ordered to pay a $90,000 fine and a 25% victim fine surcharge on top of this as required under Provincial Offences Act.
The surcharge will be credited to a special provincial government fund that assists victims of crime.