Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Glencore Canada Corp. failure to ensure that a rail car had been depressurized before the transfer line was disconnected, resulting in an uncontrolled spray of 98 percent sulphuric acid.

On May 9, 2018, as part of the planned restart following a maintenance shutdown of the Falconbridge smelter, a 98 percent sulphuric acid solution was delivered in four rail cars. Two tank trucks from a third-party contractor were on site to move the acid from the rail cars to the acid plant on a rotating basis.

A worker was seen to be disconnecting the transfer line from the rail car out of sequence before the railcar had been depressurized. As a result, the 98 percent sulphuric acid began spraying out of the rail car, injuring three workers.

On March 19, 2020, following a guilty plea, Justice of the Peace Diane Lafleur, sitting in Provincial Offences Court in Sudbury fined the company $110,000. Crown Counsel: David McCaskill.

The court also imposed a 25 percent 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.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

Glencore Canada Corp. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Mining and Mining Plants’ sector regulation 854/90, section 56, subsection (b) which states,

“Where a gas, liquid or vapour is contained at a pressure other than atmospheric pressure, before any fastening of the container or system connected therewith,

(b) is removed, the container or system shall be drained or bled so that the pressure in the container or system equals atmospheric pressure.”

This was contrary to the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, section 25, subsection 1(c) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

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

Due Diligence! Where was the due diligence practised by the employer and supervisor? Was the worker given enough information to do the job safely? Was there even a set of written instructions for the job to review prior to the accident?

These and many more questions and procedures MUST be considered to ensure a safe work environment!

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259 We can also be reached at info@hrsgroup.com.

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.