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Mill operator convicted in Rainy River mishap

DCN-JOC News Services
Mill operator convicted in Rainy River mishap

TORONTO — A Toronto-based wood products firm was convicted and fined for its role in a 2018 workplace incident in Barwick, Ont., in which a worker was injured when a strapping machine activated unexpectedly.

Norbord Inc. produces wood-based products including Oriented Strand Board (OSB), a type of engineered wood. The worker was employed at a mill operated by Norbord in Barwick, in the Rainy River District.

A Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development report explained a strapping machine is one of the machines involved in the production of OSB at the mill. The strapping machine is designed to automatically apply strapping to bundles of newly produced OSB prior to their shipment.

On Oct. 23, 2018, the strapping machine was running in automatic mode when it suddenly stopped after moving an OSB bundle into position. As the worker attempted to troubleshoot the problem, a gate moved, which caused the worker to be caught between the bundle and the top portion of the strapping machine, known as the platen, causing an injury.

An investigation of the incident by the ministry found that there were no guards or other devices in place to prevent access by a worker to the hazardous moving parts of the strapping machine. This was contrary to the safety measures in section 24 of Ontario Regulation 851, the Regulation for Industrial Establishments, and to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Following a guilty plea in provincial offences court in Fort Frances, Norbord Inc. was convicted on Feb. 4, 2021 and fined $65,000.

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