Uponor fined $80k after worker pulled into machine
Uponor has been fined $80,000.
This comes after a worker had critical injuries when he was pulled into one of the machines. It happened at the plastic piping manufacturer in Huntsville back on March 25th.
The company’s process includes feeding plastic pipes into large machines called extruders. The extruders have tracks that guide the pipes through the machinery while they are being formed into the needed sizes.
The Ministry of Labour says a worker who doesn’t normally run that kind of machine was assigned to it that day.
At one point the pipes started slipping off their tracks and the supervisor told the worker to get under the machine and clean them. That was while the machine was still on.
While cleaning one of the tracks the Ministry says the worker’s sleeve got caught. Another nearby worker was able to hit the emergency stop and call for help. The worker had to stay in the hospital for several months because of his injuries.
The Ministry says its investigation showed no guard was in place to keep people away from the moving parts inside the extruder.
Although Uponor had policies and procedures about shutting down or locking out machinery before performing any cleaning or maintenance, it was common practice to clean the tracks while the machinery was in operation.
The supervisor confirmed that workers cleaned the extruder in the same manner three to four times during a normal shift and the supervisor had done so twice already during the same shift.
Uponor pleaded guilty on September 12th to violating Section 75 of Ontario Regulation 851. It says a machine can only be cleaned or have maintenance done on it when its dangerous moving parts have been stopped and blocked.
On top of the $80,000 fine, the Ministry says the court also hit the company with a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge goes to a provincial fund to help victims of crime.