Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Goldcorp Canada Ltd., the operator of Hoyle Pond, a Timmins mine, was fined $350,000 today for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was killed.

On March 10, 2011, a worker was operating a scoop tram in a production area of the mine. A scoop tram is a type of mobile equipment used to pick up and move broken rock underground. Two workers approached the tram on foot and had a conversation with its operator about work to be done that day. The tram operator drove away to get a piece of equipment. While the tram was gone one of the two workers on foot began laying electrical wire in the tram’s work zone and a third worker entered the area on foot. The tram operator returned to the area thinking there were only two workers there. The operator saw two cap lamps near the entrance and proceeded into the work zone unaware that there was a worker laying electrical wire there. That worker remained unseen and was run over and killed by the machine.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that at the time of the incident Goldcorp had a procedure in place to alert equipment operators of workers in their area. This procedure required the placement of signs and flashing lights. While the signs and lights were readily available at the time of the incident, the procedure was not applicable in the area where the incident occurred.

Goldcorp Canada Ltd. pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that:

• there was a safety procedure in place in the area of the incident to protect workers when mobile equipment was being used;
• workers were instructed on such a procedure; and
• the procedure was implemented through appropriate supervision.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Alex Spence. In addition to the fine, 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.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

Goldcorp Limited was found guilty of violating section 25, sub-section 2(a) of the OHSA which states,
“The employer shall provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health and safety of the worker.”

Where was the supervision? Where was the pre-meeting prior to any work being done? Where was the written work instructions needed to place the workers in a position to better protect their own health and safety?

It is a funny thing, knowledge? Without it, we may get through life unscathed OR we can be hurt or killed. The hazard knowledge of a particular job goes a long way in protecting all those involved in the operation anyway.

The employer is responsible for providing everything necessary to protect the workers including;

1) Information – all necessary and pertinent to the job
2) Instruction – The actual instruction of possible aspects of the operation, and
3) Supervision – The actual supervision of the operation.

None of these were adequate in nature to protect the workers. I hope there are safe work procedures in place to deal with any future issues.

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’ 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 info@hrsgroup.com

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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

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