Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Glencore Canada Corporation, owner-operator of the Nickel Rim South Mine, pleaded guilty and has been fined $200,000 in the death of a worker who was run over by a vehicle.
The incident took place on October 20, 2015, at Glencore’s base metal mine near Sudbury, which produces nickel and copper ore. A worker was operating a machine known as a load haul dump (LHD) used in the underground operation to move broken rock or ore. While operating the LHD on a ramp, it appeared the bucket of the vehicle made contact with a wall on the right. The LHD continued to move; the worker was ejected from the operator’s compartment and was run over by one of the vehicle’s tires. The worker died from the injuries.
The company established a joint investigation team of workers in the union and Glencore staff representatives. Investigations by the Ministry of Labour and the joint investigation team suggested that the door to the operator’s compartment of the vehicle opened while it was moving down the ramp. The initial contact with the wall was believed to cause the worker’s ejection from the compartment (there were no witnesses). The worker was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the incident although there was a functioning seatbelt in the compartment. The Crown and the company agreed that the worker may have been injured in the incident while wearing the seatbelt but would likely not have been killed.
Glencore pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the safety of the worker, contrary to the Occupational Health and Safety Act – specifically to failing to provide sufficient information regarding the use of the seatbelt while operating the LHD.
The company was fined $200,000 in Sudbury court by Justice of the Peace Michael G. Kitlar on August 28, 2017.
The court also 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) in contravention:
Glencore was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), section 25, subsection 2(a) which states,
“An employer shall,
- provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker.”
Section 25, subsection 1(c) could also have been used.
“An employer shall ensure that,
- the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”
It is funny, that in this day and age, seat belts are still too uncomfortable to wear. A large truck like this would have given me enough of a scare and a seat belt would have been automatic. I realized that hindsight is 20-20 but the plant should have enforced the issue by completing periodic layered audits by the supervisor and manager.
The supervisor was forced to ensure compliance under section 27, subsection 1 of the OHSA which states,
“A supervisor shall ensure that a worker,
(a) works in the manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by this Act and the regulations; and
(b) uses or wears the equipment, protective devices or clothing that the worker’s employer requires to be used or worn.”
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Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.