Essroc Canada Inc. pleaded guilty and has been fined $50,000 after a worker was critically injured by a machine, according to the Ontario Ministry of Labour.

On April 29, 2016, a worker was performing regular duties at the workplace located at Essroc’s facility in Picton, Ontario. The worker went to a mill area to insert a heat blank into an inlet duct, a routinely-performed task. The inlet duct is positioned in close proximity to a dust collector screw conveyor.

While inserting the heat blank, the worker placed one leg on top of the screw conveyor. There is a rotating shaft that has a metal flag on it that passes a motion sensor; this flag is approximately 6-in. long. The worker's pant leg got caught on the rotating flag, which pulled the worker's foot and leg into the area.

The screw conveyor was shut down and responders were sent to the worker's aid. The worker sustained multiple injuries to the foot and leg that required hospitalization.

The Ministry of Labour's investigation found that the screw area was not accessible since it was guarded. However, the rotating shaft with the metal flag was not guarded to prevent access to the moving part.

Subsection 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) requires an employer to ensure that "all measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace." One such measure and procedure is in Ontario Regulation 851 (the Industrial Establishments Regulation), which states that that "where a machine ... has an exposed moving part that may endanger the safety of any worker, the machine ... shall be equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevents access to the moving part."

Accordingly, Essroc failed to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by subsection 24 of Regulation 851 were carried out. This constituted a breach of OHSA.

Justice of the Peace Ernie Parsons sentenced the company to a $50,000 fine in Picton court last week. The court also imposed a 25-percent 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.

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