Operating a Pellet Mill


Pellet mills come in a variety of sizes and are commonly used to produce animal feed. Operating a pellet mill can be dangerous if the manufacturer’s instructions are not followed. In 2013, an employee working at a feed mill was fatally injured after using a large pry bar to clear a plugged mill—a procedure that did not conform to the manufacturer’s instructions.


Factors that can lead to an accident or injury while operating a pellet mill include:

  • failure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use and maintenance;
  • insufficient workplace procedures for using, maintaining, inspecting and servicing;
  • missing machine guards for moving parts; and
  • failure to use personal protective and safety equipment when inspecting or servicing.

Controlling and Eliminating the Hazard

The following measures can help prevent pellet mill accidents:

  • following the manufacturer’s operating and maintenance instructions;
  • establishing safe work procedures based on a hazard assessment;
  • obtaining information and instructions on proper lockout procedures; and
  • using the right tools for the job.

The Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (COHSR), Part XIII entitled “Tools and Machinery” contains the requirements to identify and label defective tools and machines, to provide instruction and training for each one and to comply with the general requirements for machine guards. Many of these requirements may be applied to pellet mills.

The Hazard Prevention Program, found in Part XIX of the COHSR, requires employers to identify hazards in the workplace. Proactive steps that may be taken include:

  • identifying and assessing hazards associated with operating a pellet mill, including those related to ergonomics;
  • implementing adequate control measures to address the hazards assessed; and
  • developing and training employees on safe work procedures when operating a pellet mill.

The Labour Program’s Hazard Prevention Program Guide provides assistance in implementing a hazard prevention program that meets Part XIX of the COHSR.

Hazard Alerts! are messages, notices or warnings for employees, employers and Canadians in general. They provide information about the risks associated with, for example, the handling of hazardous substances, the presence of toxic products or the use of products or objects. Employers must comply with the minimum standards established by Part II of the Canada Labour Code and associated regulations.

For further information, please contact the ESDC Labour Program office nearest you or visit our Hazard Alerts website.

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