Toronto dairy product employer fined $110,000 for worker for worker injury

Worker sustained burns while trying to repair a CIP pipeline system

Toronto dairy product employer fined $110,000 for worker for worker injury

Ontario employer Lactalis Canada Inc. has been fined $110,000 after one of its workers sustained burns in their line of work, in violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Following a guilty plea in the Ontario Court of Justice, Stratford, the employer was also tasked to pay a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

Lactalis Canada Inc. manufactures dairy products such as cheese, milk, yogurt and butter at its Mitchell facility. That facility has a network of stainless-steel pipelines used to produce and distribute liquid and semi-liquid products throughout the facility.

The incident happened at 100 St. George Street, Mitchell, Ontario on March 29, 2023. On that day, a millwright was asked to fix a valve that would not open, preventing the CIP process from completing.

A CIP method is used to prepare the pipelines for the next batch of product. It is a process that includes injecting cold and hot water, chemicals and acid through the pipelines. The pipelines have valves which open and close to direct the flow of material.

After testing it from the control panel, the worker decided the valve needed to be removed to fix the problem. Before beginning this task, they made sure the system was not running; however, they did not lock it out.

To reach the valve, the millwright had to use a Skyjack Scissor Lift and asked a plumber to assist. The plumber was employed by a sub-contractor.

The millwright began loosening the clamp around the base of the valve with the help of the plumber, and a slow drip of lukewarm water came out. When the millwright finally managed to remove the valve, a spray of hot liquid came out of the pipe and struck the millwright.

The millwright suffered serious burns.

“Because the system was not locked out, it automatically re-started rinsing the pipeline with the acid mixture, at a temperature between 153 to 175 degrees Fahrenheit,” said the Ontario government.

The Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, through its investigation, found that while the millwright had received general lockout training, they had not been given lockout and tagout training specifically for the cleaning-in-place of the pipeline.

“Lactalis Canada Inc. failed as an employer to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker with respect to the safe lockout/tagout of the CIP pipeline system, contrary to section 25(2)(a) of the Act,” said the Ontario government.