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Monday February 9th, 2015

Posted at 2:38pm

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Sun-Brite Foods Inc. has been fined after a worker was injured on the job.

On September 5th, 2013, the seasonal farm worker, who was from Mexico, was engaged in cleaning the peeler room of the company’s food processing facility at 1532 County Road 34 near Ruthven. The room contains tomato-peeling machines, each with a waste chute connected to a trough. A power screw auger pushes waste material through the trough.

The worker was cleaning the area around one of the machines and attempted to step over the waste trough, when his foot slipped into the trough and became caught in the auger.

The worker suffered serious injuries to the foot, which had to be partially amputated.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the peeler machine involved in the incident had been installed just two weeks prior. While steel mesh guards were affixed over the waste troughs of the other three machines, no guard had yet been installed on the newest machine leaving the auger was fully exposed.

The powered auger was an in-running nip hazard which created a pinch point between the auger and the side of the trough.

According to regulations, an in-running nip hazard or any part of a machine, device or thing that may endanger the safety of any worker must be equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevents access to the pinch point.

The courts said that Sun-Brite failed as an employer to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by the regulation were followed; this is contrary to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The company pleaded guilty was fined $70,000 by Justice of the Peace Salma Jafar in Provincial Offences Court in Windsor on February 9th, 2015.

In addition to the fine, the court imposed 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.

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