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Industrial accidents at Fiera Foods

Industrial bakery facing prosecution over death of temp agency worker Enrico Miranda

Sept 25, 2020

It’s been one year since a workplace accident killed Enrico Miranda, and for his family, the pain has yet to dim. But while they grieve, they are also hopeful.

Miranda was working through a temporary employment agency at North York industrial bakery Fiera Foods when he was crushed by a machine as he cleaned it in September 2019. Now, Fiera’s partner company, Upper Crust, is facing prosecution from the Ministry of Labour on five counts of violating provincial health and safety laws, the Star has learned. So too are a supervisor and another individual working at the factory when Miranda died.

To mark the year anniversary of his father’s death, Miranda’s son Richard is visiting Toronto from Alberta to support his loved ones — especially his mother. It is a painful moment, one the family hoped to spend in their native Philippines where Miranda is now buried. While the COVID-19 pandemic made that impossible, the charges, at least, are “a very positive development,” says Richard.

 
Industrial bakery facing prosecution over death of temp agency worker Enrico Miranda

Sept 25, 2020

It’s been one year since a workplace accident killed Enrico Miranda, and for his family, the pain has yet to dim. But while they grieve, they are also hopeful.

Miranda was working through a temporary employment agency at North York industrial bakery Fiera Foods when he was crushed by a machine as he cleaned it in September 2019. Now, Fiera’s partner company, Upper Crust, is facing prosecution from the Ministry of Labour on five counts of violating provincial health and safety laws, the Star has learned. So too are a supervisor and another individual working at the factory when Miranda died.

To mark the year anniversary of his father’s death, Miranda’s son Richard is visiting Toronto from Alberta to support his loved ones — especially his mother. It is a painful moment, one the family hoped to spend in their native Philippines where Miranda is now buried. While the COVID-19 pandemic made that impossible, the charges, at least, are “a very positive development,” says Richard.


This company should be put out of business. Period.

Its owners should ideally see jail time, but I'd settle for a material financial loss and a prohibition from owning any industrial or higher injury risk business.

Far too many injuries and deaths.
 
This company should be put out of business. Period.

Its owners should ideally see jail time, but I'd settle for a material financial loss and a prohibition from owning any industrial or higher injury risk business.

Far too many injuries and deaths.

But oh no, the owner is sitting in his Forest Hill McMansion counting his millions while his employees suffer. No morals.

Life isn't fair.
 
But oh no, the owner is sitting in his Forest Hill McMansion counting his millions while his employees suffer. No morals.

Life isn't fair.

Likely most of his millions are in overseas tax havens where the courts, creditors, current & former employees, and the Canadian government can't get their hands on it.
 
From John Michael McGrath, on Twitter:

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Fiera Foods ‘partner’ plant convicted over deaths of two temporary workers


June 7, 2021


A North York industrial bakery has been convicted for violating workplace safety laws following the 2018 and 2019 deaths of two temporary agency employees at its facilities.

Upper Crust is part of an “alliance partnership” with Fiera Foods, the company that was the subject of an undercover Star investigation into its reliance on low-wage temp workers and its history of health and safety violations.

A total of five temporary help workers have been killed in industrial accidents at Fiera or its affiliates since 1999.

In the latest two fatalities, Upper Crust pleaded guilty to charges laid by the Ministry of Labour and was fined a total of $700,000.

The most recent death occurred in September 2019, when 57-year-old cleaner Enrico Miranda was fatally injured by a machine as he worked.

Miranda’s son, Richard, told the Star he was not aware of the fines issued over his father’s death. He said the ministry informed his family in May that the company had entered a plea agreement but they had heard nothing since.

“Although this is positive news, I am not optimistic that anything will change in how Fiera or Upper Crust does their business,” he told the Star.

“Fines like these are like pocket change to them. Workers’ abuses will still happen unless someone from management will be criminally convicted.”



 
Being in the same industry, I am familiar with Fiera Foods and many of their inner-workings. Regarding their shoddy workplace safety record, I'll offer the following comments:

1. I have met Boris Serebryany and Alex Garber as well as others in managerial positions at the company. I would not classify both owners as bad people; however, there is certainly a large disconnect between upper management and lower level workers. Middle management insulates upper management from the realities occurring on their production floor.
2. There remains far too much dependency on manual labour in their production areas, including cleaning and sanitation which is the main cause of their 5 total fatalities since 1999. With such dependency on manual labour, there are far too many workers running around in these areas than necessary, especially with available modern technologies in the food production space.
3. The company received a substantial grant from the Wynne government in 2014 to install a new automated freezer system to warehouse their par-baked goods, which constitutes the bulk of their business. We're talking par-baked items for large customers such as Dunkin, Tim's, Costco and endless other retail and quick-serve chains. https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/28801/new-jobs-fresh-from-the-oven
4. While focusing on automation of their freezer ops, the company has lagged in automating and modernizing their production areas, which includes everything from bulk receiving, weighing/scaling, mixing, folding/forming, proofing, baking, packaging, labelling and shipping. The reasons for this are numerous and are likely related to the prospects of production downtime, lack of operational flexibility to meet demand, deviations related to construction and upgrade work and the temporary impacts on food safety (dust, debris, other hazards etc.)
5. As such, the company throws cheap labour at the problem of outdated production processes to continue operations. At some point, if they haven't already, ownership needs to realize the current system is not working. CIP systems exist for a reason. You don't need to send a minimum wage worker inside a mixer or conveyer belt to clean and sanitize anymore. The short-term money you save on cheap labour is not worth the long-term risk of jeopardizing worker safety.
 

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