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Worker injured after hair gets caught in rotating driveshaft

Written by Alyssa Dalton

Dec. 16, 2014 – Value Drug Mart has been fined $80,000 after a worker was seriously injured when her hair became entangled in a rotating driveshaft below a conveyer belt.

The incident occurred on March 16, 2011, at its Edmonton, Alta., distribution centre which packages and delivers supplies to several of its pharmacies.

According to the provincial court, the company used employees known as pickers who were expected to gather the necessary supplies requested by the local pharmacies and place them in containers to be conveyed by a motorized conveyor.

The worker, who had been employed with the company for six years at that time, was assigned to work at conveyor P-30. She brought a portable electronic weigh scale to her assigned work station. She bent down under the drive shaft to plug in the weigh scale when she felt herself being “propelled violently backward.” A supervisor was notified and stopped the machine. An investigation revealed that her hair, which was tied in a bun, was caught in the machinery.

As a result of the incident, she lost part of her hair and part of her hair. As well, part of the bone in her head was shaved to relieve the suffering, noted the court.

Value Drug Mart was convicted because it “failed to demonstrate that it used all reasonable measures to ensure the safety of employees who worked near conveyor P-30,” noted the court, adding that company officials failed to notice that a 60-foot length of guarding was not installed as a protective barrier.