Mushroom farm pleads guilty after worker critically injured by forklift

A Campbellville, Ont. mushroom farm has pleaded guilty to workplace safety violations after a pallet truck crashed with a forklift and hurt a worker.
A Campbellville mushroom farm has pleaded guilty to workplace safety violations for the second time. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)

A Campbellville, Ont. mushroom farm has pleaded guilty to workplace safety violations after a pallet truck crashed with a forklift and hurt a worker.

Monaghan Mushrooms Ltd. was fined $90,000 in a Burlington court this week. The company pleaded guilty to violating occupational health and safety laws at its growing facility at 7345 Guelph Line.

The incident happened on April 29, 2017. One Monaghan employee was driving a small mobile pallet truck, another a forklift.

The pallet truck driver was driving down a long indoor hallway to drop a skid of mushrooms in the pack house, the province says. The forklift driver was transporting mushroom tracks to a tray de-stacker.

Both spotted another forklift headed to the tray de-stacker, so they stopped and waited. Eventually, both started moving again and collided, according to the province. The pallet truck driver fell to the ground and was critically injured.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found the mushroom farm didn't have any policies, procedures or training around which vehicles have the right of way, the province says. All three workers had different ideas about who had the right of way.

This isn't the first time a worker was injured by a vehicle there, except the first time, the worker died.

On Dec. 20, 2011, a worker employed by a subcontractor was hit and killed by a reversing front-end loader. The province says Monaghan pleaded guilty then too, and was convicted on April 8, 2014 and fined $140,000.

In both cases, the province says, Monaghan violated section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Justice of the Peace Paul Macphail issued the fine this week.