[NEW ANNAN, PE] – No charges will be laid against Cavendish Farms in connection with a workplace accident that left an employee with second and third degree burns.
The Occupational Health and Safety Division of the Workers Compensation Board has wrapped up its investigation into the accident, which occurred in June at Cavendish Farm's New Annan plant.
"We concluded that they've taken every reasonable precaution prior to the incident," said Occupational Health and Safety director Bill Reid. "We had issued a stop-work order immediately on the process involving the incident. They had taken several steps to ensure that it wouldn't happen again to our satisfaction."
A 46-year-old man, an employee at the plant for four years, was at a valve near the No. 1 fryer when something went wrong. Hot grease came from the valve, burning the man's neck, back, shoulders and forearms.
He was airlifted to a Halifax.
The last update given by Cavendish Farms on the man's condition was on July 8. A company spokesperson said he was still being treated at the burn unit in Halifax, adding that further medical updates would only be issued at the family's request.
Reid said Tuesday that management of Cavendish Farms went above and beyond what was recommended to ensure that such an accident doesn't occur again.
"They relocated the valve to a remote location that will be away from where the grease could pour out in such an incident. The operator does not have to be underneath the filter," he explained.
Shields have also been installed in the area to protect workers if such an accident happens in the future.
"They changed the process for cleaning to a different process to ensure that there would never be any water left in the system."
Reid added it was the first such accident to happen at the New Annan plant.
"There was a slight bit of water that was left in the system of pipes after a previous cleaning. They've done the process the same way for 15, 16 years and never had this issue," said Reid.
"Basically, that's what they realized after the incident, it was probably the water in the system and once the hot grease hit it, it caused the hot grease to overflow out of the filter."
Now, all the water is evacuated from the system during the cleaning process.
Reid noted the entire system is going to be replaced with a more modern system sometime this fall.
"They had a very healthy occupational health and safety program," he added. "They were fully co-operative and went above and beyond our requirements."