Medical mask company fined $13K after several instances of workers getting caught in machinery

A Vitacore mask manufacturing plant in Burnaby, B.C., is pictured in 2021. (Dillon Hodgin/CBC - image credit)
A Vitacore mask manufacturing plant in Burnaby, B.C., is pictured in 2021. (Dillon Hodgin/CBC - image credit)

A medical mask company in Burnaby, B.C., has been fined thousands of dollars after several workers were injured by manufacturing machines.

Vitacore Industries, which runs two facilities in the city, was fined more than $13,000 for repeat safety violations in September.

In a notice recently posted online, WorkSafeBC said it launched an investigation after a worker was hurt on the job in June. The staffer had been trying to adjust material in an unguarded mask manufacturing machine.

They got caught between rollers and suffered undisclosed injuries.

"WorkSafeBC observed two mask manufacturing machines that did not have safeguards," read the notice.

No further details about the incident were released, but additional documents first obtained by the Burnaby Now and later released to CBC News show workers have previously been hurt at Vitacore's facility on Glenlyon Parkway.

One report dated Sept. 8, 2021, said there had been "at least six ... injuries" caused by machines without proper safeguards over a six-month period that year.

The documents said an inspector found several safety violations at the plant, including a lack of proper safeguards on manufacturing machines and improper lockout procedures — specific protocol for workers who have to clear material stuck in machinery.

The report said there was no training for younger, newer workers on how to free up stuck machines.

WorkSafeBC said the company has not yet paid the $13,154.99 fine.

CBC News has contacted Vitacore Industries for comment.