DRAYTON – A local meat packing company has been fined $60,000 as the result of a workplace accident here more than a year ago.
A Nov. 17 press release from the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development states a Peel Meat Packers worker was injured during the delivery of a steer to a holding barn on June 14, 2022.
“Contrary to safety procedures, Peel Meat Packers Ltd. failed, as an employer, to ensure a protective gate between the animal and worker was properly maintained, as outlined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act,” the release states.
The company pled guilty to the offence on Nov. 15 in the Ontario Court of Justice.
In addition to the $60,000 fine, the court also imposed a 25 per cent victim surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
The release explains the worker was “critically injured,” at a holding barn operated by Peel Meat Packers. The barn is divided into five holding pens, a livestock chute and three gated aisles – one for animals and two for humans. When the livestock gate is open it blocks access to the human side of the aisle and vice versa.
On the date of the accident, the self-closing gate on the human side of the aisle had a broken spring and was not working. A worker was assigned to greet a farmer, who was delivering a steer to the holding barn, and to complete the necessary paperwork.
When the farmer opened the back of their trailer, the steer came charging out. The farmer quickly stepped back into the livestock aisle, pulling the livestock gate closed, cutting off the steer’s access to the livestock aisle.
“The animal, having nowhere else to go, ran down the human aisle through the gate left open due to the broken latch. The worker was still standing in the human aisle and was critically injured by the charging steer,” the release explains.
Following the ministry investigation, the company implemented several health and safety measures, including changes to limit workers’ interaction with animals, the release notes.