Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Kirkland Lake Gold Inc., a company that operates an underground gold mine in Kirkland Lake, was fined $100,000 on September 6, 2011, for violating the Occupational Health and Safety Act after two workers were injured.
On February 24, 2009, two crews were having lunch in the mine when they learned that a machine in a tunnel off the main haulage line had a flat tire. They were instructed to take one crew to examine the machine, before obtaining the appropriate tire from storage. One crew left with a tram – a train consisting of a motor and ore cars – and along the way, they found a tire placed at a curve in the main line and assumed it would fit. The second crew left shortly after, unaware the first crew had stopped to pick up the tire and was still on the main line. The second crew’s tram hit the other tram at the curve, crushing and seriously injuring a worker. Kirkland Lake Gold Inc. pleaded guilty, as an employer, to failing to supervise the implementation of its procedure for instances where a train may meet another on a single track.
In a separate incident on August 5, 2009, a worker was installing ground support at a working face in a drift – a horizontal tunnel – at the 4750-foot level. A piece of loose rock fell, glancing off a drill and hitting the worker, who suffered leg injuries. A Ministry of Labour investigation found that Kirkland Lake Gold Inc., the employer, failed to follow bolt patterns used to stabilize rock excavations as prescribed by the mine plan, and utilized bolts significantly shorter than what was called for. The investigation also found that the screening along the wall and roof of the drift had not been properly cleared of loose rock, also contributing to unsafe conditions. Kirkland Lake Gold Inc. pleaded guilty, as an employer, to failing to ensure that ground conditions be examined for dangers and hazards before work was begun.
Kirkland Lake Gold Inc. was fined $50,000 for each conviction. The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Michel Moreau. 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) in contravention:
Kirkland Lake Gold Inc. was found guilty of violating section 25, subsection 2(a) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,
“The employer shall provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health and safety of the worker.”
Kirkland Lake Gold Inc. was also found guilty of violating section 25, subsection 1(c) of the OHSA which states,
“An employer shall ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”
Kirkland Lake Gold Inc. was also found guilty of violating section 66, subsection 1 of the Ontario ‘Mining and Mining Plants’ regulation 854 which states,
“ Before work is begun in a workplace in an underground mine, the ground conditions of the workplace shall be examined for dangers and hazards and, if required, made safe.”
Kirkland Lake Gold Inc. had not one but two issues to deal with in a very short period of time. Both could have been avoided if they had followed their own safe work practices and also followed the letter of the law in the Occupational Health and Safety Act as well as the mining regulation. It seems to me that they need to employ someone that has a background in health and safety and the company has to decidedly change the corporate attitude and make the health and safety of the worker the overriding priority. It is not a difficult takes to accomplish but it takes a commitment from all parties, from the CEO on down. HRS Group Inc. can help them there if they wish.
Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’, ‘Mining Safety Awareness’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.
We can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.