Metro Ontario Inc. pleaded guilty and was fined $80,000 after a worker in the grocery chain’s Sudbury store was injured while grinding meat.
The incident took place in the Metro store at 900 Lasalle Boulevard in Sudbury on November 24, 2015.
The worker was making sausage by putting pork in the hopper of a meat grinder. The worker closed the lid and pressed the ‘mix/grind’ button on the machine. While looking through a window in the hopper, the worker noted that the hopper was empty and determined that the meat required a second grind. Without stopping the machine, the worker lifted the lid to the hopper; this action disconnected an interlock switch that shut off power to the motor. However, the equipment was designed such that the mixing arms continued to rotate without power for about 10 seconds after being shut off.
The worker put one hand down from the lid handle to the centre of the underside of the lid in order to engage a catch that would keep the lid open.
At this point the mixing arms were still turning and the sleeve of the worker’s coat was caught. The worker received an injury and was taken to hospital.
A Ministry of Labour investigation determined that the grinder was not equipped with and guarded by a guard to prevent access to the pinch point created by the still-rotating mixer arms. Metro took steps to retro-fit the same equipment in all its stores to prevent further incidents.
Metro Ontario Inc. pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to ensure that the measures and procedures under Section 25 of Regulation 851 (the Industrial Establishments Regulation) were carried out in the workplace – specifically, ensuring that “an in-running nip hazard or any part of a machine, device or thing that may endanger the safety of any worker shall be equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevents access to the pinch point.” This was an offence under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Metro Ontario Inc. received a fine of $80,000 from Justice of the Peace J. Gary McMahon in Sudbury court on June 9, 2017.
The court also 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.