Blog Post #843 – Mining Company Fined Total of $365,000

Blog Post #843 – Mining Company Fined Total of $365,000

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Lac Des Iles Mines Ltd. has been fined a total of $365,000 after separate incidents in 2014 in which one worker was injured and another killed due to the movement of mined material.

On July 10, 2014, one miner was operating a scoop tram (underground loader, similar to a front-end loader) hauling ore and was killed instantly upon being struck and crushed by a run of muck or rock. The incident occurred at the 961 Stope Draw Point, an opening at the bottom of an inclined excavation through which broken ore was being extracted. The worker was found lifeless in a location about 6.75 metres ahead of the ‘safe-limit line’ (also known as a “no-go” line) painted on the wall. A safe-limit line designates a hazard zone to workers.

It was not known why the worker was ahead of the safe-limit line outside the cab of the loader; the bucket was full of rock and raised, its engine still running with lights on and the operator cab door was open.

The Ministry of Labour issued a number of orders to the employer, including one to ensure that written safety precautions and procedures were established and used before, during and after removal of material. The employer complied with the order by developing a written policy that no worker outside a loader would be permitted ahead of the safe-limit line without permission from a supervisor.

The employer was found guilty of failing to ensure that written safety precautions and procedures were established and followed to prevent a worker from being outside of a loader while ahead of the safe-limit line, contrary to Section 84(1) of the Mining and Mining Plants Regulation, and fined $300,000.

Earlier, on February 22, 2014, another equipment operator was injured while working above ground at the mine’s Regular Grade Ore stockpile working face. The worker was loading mine haulage trucks with an excavator when the working face of the stockpile failed, sending a large amount of material onto the excavator. It crushed the operator’s cab, its controls and radio, trapping the worker inside where the worker was unable to radio for assistance, shut down the motor or get free of the cab.
Another mine haulage truck operator discovered the trapped worker and mine rescue personnel extricated the worker about two hours after the incident. The worker suffered hand and leg injuries.

The employer was found guilty of failing to ensure that a stockpile of unconsolidated material was made safe before a worker was allowed to work close to or on top of the stockpile, contrary to Section 61(1)(b) of the regulation, and fined $65,000.
The fines were imposed by Senior Justice of the Peace Raymond Zuliani in Thunder Bay court on January 18, 2016.

In addition to the fines, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

The law(s) violated,

Lac Des Iles Mines Ltd. was found guilty of a violation of the Ontario Mining Regulation 854/90 section 84(1) which states,

“If a worker may be endangered by the withdrawal, collapse, shifting or movement of bulk material such as rock, ore or other material in a stope, pass or chute or in a storage area, the employer shall ensure that written procedures for the precautions to be taken before, during and after removal of the material are established and followed.”

Lac Des Iles Mines Ltd. was also found guilty of a violation of the same regulation, 854/90, section 61(b) which states,

“Stockpiles of unconsolidated material shall be,

(b) made safe before a worker is allowed to work close to or on top of the stockpile.”

Finally, for both infractions, Lac Des Iles Mines Ltd. was found guilty of violating the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) section 25(1)(c) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

(c) the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”

My opinion,

Here have two examples of a company not having completed hazard assessments and placed their workers at risk. This is almost always where a company has failed their employees because of a lack of written procedures set up ahead of time.

Too bad for the workers.

All in all, the mining sector is one of the safest out there. There seems to be a shared interest and information between mines so that the same type of incident/accident will not happen at their facility.

I do hope that Lac Des Iles Mines Ltd. have placed safety controls in place. I hope other mines take note and check their own sites for ensure that this type of infraction does not happen at their facility.

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

Dan
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