A Canadian plastics recycler has received a hefty fine for safety violations.
Entropex Ltd., a partnership in Sarnia, Ontario, was fined $410,000 (US$397,700) for a Sept. 14, 2010, accident in which a worker was hurt near a baling machine, according to Ontario's Ministry of Labour. A worker walked in front of the baler being operated by another employee. As compacted plastic was being ejected from the baler, the worker walking by was struck by the plastic and was pinned against a forklift. The incident violated Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act.
A judge ruled on the violations in a July 19 decision. The Ministry of Labour issued a news release July 26.
Entropex President Keith Bechard said in an email that his company would not comment on the judge's decision because the case is before the courts. The injured employee has returned to work as a member of the firm's maintenance staff.
“Entropex is a safe company,” Bechard stressed in an email. “We work hard to ensure employees are provided appropriate training and a safe work environment. It is and continues to be a top priority. The Ministry of Labour conviction is regrettable, it is the first in our company's 35 year history.”
The Ontario Court of Justice in Sarnia found the baler was not guarded to prevent worker access. The baler was not maintained in good condition and maintenance was performed on the machine while it was in motion, according to the court. Entropex was found to have failed as an employer to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect workers around the baler.
Entropex recycles post-consumer and post-industrial plastics. It is jointly owned by Unitec Inc. and 629728 Ontario Ltd., which were fined C$200,000 (US$194,000) and C$210,000 (US$203,000), respectively, after being convicted on all accounts. The court also imposed a 25 percent victim fine surcharge on the fines for each partner as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is aimed at assisting victims of crime.