Cambridge Towel Company fined $50,000 after worker injured

KITCHENER: Cambridge Towel Company Inc., a manufacturer of towels based in Cambridge, has pleaded guilty and has been fined $50,000 after a worker suffered hand injuries from running machinery.

On May 21, 2014, a worker was operating a cold pad machine, which is a machine designed to apply dye to towels, at the company’s textile plant on Dobbie Drive in Cambridge. Fabric is passed through two rollers to squeeze out excess dye; the non-moving parts of the machine are cleaned by hand with sponges prior to changing dyes while the moving parts are cleaned by sprayers with the machine running.

The worker was wiping the front of the machine with a sponge while it was running. Either the worker’s sponge or the glove the worker was wearing got caught in the in-running nip created by the two rollers. One hand was pulled in between the rollers. The worker reacted quickly, pulling the hand out of the rollers, but suffered partial amputation of fingers as well as bone and tissue damage.

The machine had not been stopped in accordance with Section 75 of Ontario Regulation 851, which states that a part of a machine can be cleaned or maintained only when motion that may endanger a worker has stopped and any part that has been stopped and may subsequently move and endanger a worker has been blocked to prevent movement.

Cambridge Towel pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to ensure the proper measures in the regulation were carried out in the workplace and was fined $50,000 in Kitchener court by Justice of the Peace Michael A. Cuthbertson on May 19.