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Worker was seriously injured after hair caught in motor

Abbotsford company fined for incident in November 2017

An Abbotsford company has been fined more than $14,000 after a worker at its chick hatchery sustained serious injuries last fall after his or her hair became caught in an unguarded motor shaft.

The worker at Rossdown Farms had been “cleaning a conveyor on a chick-counting machine” when the incident occurred, according to WorkSafeBC’s latest magazine, which lists penalties levied in recent months. Rossdown had failed to assess the machine’s hazards and “thus had not identified the need for an emergency stop device and lockout procedures,” WorkSafe found.

The company was fined $14,516 in connection with the incident, which took place last November.

WorkSafeBC also found Rossdown hadn’t provided “specific training or safe work procedures” for operating the machine and had failed to take other safety measures.

In a statement to The News, Rossdown Farms wrote: “Through our company chaplaincy program the chaplain had engaged with the employee after this unfortunate accident. Due to the privacy and respect to the individual and their family we are not in a position to comment on their recovery.

“We value our staff and their commitment to our company and accidents in the workplace are taken very seriously and immediate steps were taken to rectify this unfortunate accident from happening again. We continue to work very closely with WorkSafe and safety consultants to improve the safety in our work place.”

WorkSafeBC also imposed a heavy fine on another Abbotsford company in late October.

The magazine says police pulled over a vehicle belonging to A & P Fruit Growers and found it was carrying 10 workers, despite only having seating for five passengers. The five without seats were instead “sitting on sandbags in the back of the vehicle.”

Both that vehicle and another used by the company subsequently failed inspections by Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement officers. WorkSafe found other violations deemed to be “high-risk” in nature.

A little more than a decade ago in Abbotsford, three farmworkers were killed in a crash on Highway 1. A subsequent investigation found the van carrying the workers had numerous safety issues and had just two seatbelts for more than a dozen passengers.

A 2015 investigation by The News found improvements had taken place since the accident, but that dozens of vehicles continued to be cited for mechanical problems.