Ont. apple juice firm fined over worker injury

One of Canada’s biggest apple-processing companies is out $75,000 for a workplace safety violation that led to eye injury for one of its staff.

Golden Town Apple Products, a division of Quebec-based juice maker A. Lassonde, pled guilty Friday under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act over a May 2008 incident at its plant at Clarksburg, Ont., about 75 km west of Barrie.

According to an Ontario provincial labour ministry release Wednesday, a worker at the company’s plant was flushing a production line with a sodium hydroxide solution on May 9, 2008 and carried a pail of the solution toward a tank to be cleaned.

While lifting the pail to dump the solution into the tank, the worker’s hand slipped, the pail swung forward and the solution splashed into the worker’s eyes, causing permanent eye damage, the ministry said.

Golden Town’s guilty plea was for “failing, as an employer, to ensure that the pail of sodium hydroxide solution was lifted, carried or moved in a way and with safeguards to protect the worker’s safety.”

The fine imposed Friday also carries a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge, credited to a provincial fund to assist victims of crime.

Golden Town, whose roots in Ontario’s Georgian Bay region date back to 1906, is billed as the largest user of peeler and juice apples in the province and one of the top three apple processors in Canada.

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