Petrolia company fined $70,000 after workplace accident

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A Petrolia company will pay a $70,000 after admitting fault in an accident which cost a man his foot.

And the Occupational Health and Safety Act charge against another has been withdrawn.

On Oct. 9, 2013, Mario Lafond was working at the Sof Surfaces Plant on Discovery Line plant when his foot was caught in a press.

A news release from the Ontario Ministry of Labour says Lafond and his coworker were cleaning the lids on a large carousel machine used to make rubberized tile. “Excess material builds up inside the lids of the various cells of the carousel and is cleaned out using hand-held tools,” the release says.

Normally, the carousel should not be able to move when the workers were in the area however a statement read in court Monday said the equipment was not locked out and safety devices were bypassed to allow the carousel to move when the workers were near it.

On that morning, a supervisor set the carousel in motion crushing LaFond’s foot. It was later surgically removed.

Sof Surfaces plead guilty to failing to ensure the proper measures and proceduers were carried out.

Justice of the Peace Anna Hampson fined the company $70,000 Monday during the Sarnia court appearance. The company will also pay another $17,500 fine called the Victims Surcharge – that money goes into a provincial fund which helps victims of crime but does not go directly to the victim.

Express Employment Services, the company which brought LaFond to Sof Surfaces, was also charged for failing to train workers it placed. Officials with the Ministry of Labour say that charge was withdrawn Monday.

LaFond’s then common-law-wife at the time charges were laid expressed surprise and relief the charges were laid saying “It should have never happened…There should have been better training.”

LaFond is no longer living in the area; he moved to his hometown of New Liskeard.