Home Occupational Health & Safety Toronto dairy company fined $110,000 after worker suffers severe burns

Toronto dairy company fined $110,000 after worker suffers severe burns

by HR Law Canada

Lactalis Canada Inc., a Toronto-based dairy products manufacturer, has been fined $110,000 following a workplace injury that left an employee with severe burns. The incident occurred on March 29, 2023, at the company’s facility in Mitchell, Ontario.

The penalty was imposed after Lactalis Canada Inc. pleaded guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice in Stratford. Justice of the Peace Michael Cuthbertson handed down the fine, with Judy Chan serving as Crown Counsel. Additionally, the court levied a 25 percent victim fine surcharge, which will be directed to a provincial fund for assisting victims of crime.

The incident took place when a millwright was attempting to repair a valve in the facility’s Cleaning in Place (CIP) pipeline system. The system, used to clean and sanitize pipelines by flushing them with hot water, chemicals, and acid, malfunctioned when a valve failed to open. The worker, who had not received specific lockout and tagout training for the CIP system, did not lock out the system before beginning repairs.

As the millwright loosened the valve with the help of a subcontracted plumber, hot liquid sprayed from the pipe, causing significant burns. The Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development’s investigation determined that the CIP system had automatically resumed its cleaning cycle, introducing an acid mixture at temperatures ranging from 153 to 175 degrees Fahrenheit.

The ministry found that Lactalis Canada Inc. had violated section 25(2)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act by failing to provide adequate information, instruction, and supervision to ensure the worker’s safety. While the injured employee had general lockout training, specific training for the CIP system was lacking.

Lactalis Canada Inc. manufactures a variety of dairy products, including cheese, milk, yogurt, and butter, at its Mitchell facility. The incident underscores the importance of comprehensive safety training and protocols in preventing workplace injuries, particularly in environments involving hazardous materials and processes.

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