Blog Post #548 – Essar Steel Algoma Ltd. Fined $250,000

Blog Post #548 – Essar Steel Algoma Ltd. Fined $250,000

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Essar Steel Algoma Ltd., a manufacturer of steel products, was fined $250,000 total for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after workers were injured.

On May 7, 2011, three workers at the Essar Steel Algoma Inc. plant at 105 West Street in Sault Ste. Marie prepared to pour liquid steel from a large vessel into a ladle. One worker operated the tilting of the vessel, while one acted as a helper and another monitored the pouring by looking into the 12-foot (3.7 metre) opening at the top. An unexpected reaction occurred while the pouring was underway, causing molten steel and a fireball to be expelled from the vessel. The workers suffered burns of varying degrees, including extensive burns to the worker who was monitoring the pouring.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that workers at risk of exposure to molten metal were not protected by a shield, screen or similar barrier.

A separate incident occurred at the plant on August 31, 2011. Workers at the plant worked to replace a sheave wheel (pulley wheel) at the top of a blast furnace. The workers attached a rolling trolley with a hoist to a stationary lifting beam. The hoist was to be used to lift the sheave wheel. A worker pulled on the trolley in order to move it out of the way of the work. The trolley moved towards the worker and fell off the beam, striking the worker and causing injuries.

A Ministry of Labour Investigation found that the stoppers on the beam were worn and failed to protect the worker from the rolling trolley.

A third incident occurred at the plant on April 18, 2012, when workers used a forklift to raise a 350 lb. (158.8 kg) cart from the main floor to the mezzanine level. While being lifted, the cart fell from the forks and struck a worker in the head, causing injuries.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the cart was lifted in a way that endangered the safety of a worker.

Essar Steel Algoma Ltd. pleaded guilty to three violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act., and was fined $150,000 for the first incident, $50,000 for the second incident, and $50,000 for the third incident.

The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace JP Morris. 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:

Essar Steel Algoma Ltd., was found guilty of violating section 45, subsection (a) of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 which states,

“Material, articles or things,

(a) required to be lifted, carried or moved, shall be lifted, carried or moved in such a way and with such precautions and safeguards, including protective clothing, guards or other precautions as will ensure that the lifting, carrying or moving of the material, articles or things does not endanger the safety of any worker.”

Essar Steel Algoma Ltd. was found guilty of violating section 84, subsection (e) of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 which states,

“A worker exposed to the hazard of injury from contact of the worker’s skin shall be protected by,

(e) Wearing apparel sufficient to protect the worker from injury.”

Essar Steel Algoma Ltd. was also found guilty of violating section 25, subsection 1(c) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, (OHSA) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

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

In less than one year, Essar Algoma Ltd. had three accidents, ones that should never have happened. Safe operating procedures are to be written and discussed before any process segment for any project be it before, during or after the operation.

Here we have a large company not understanding its role in the safety of the work place. Too bad for the employees!

How many times have you, my readership, read about the callous lack of regard by an employer for the welfare of their employees? You would wonder where the company HR department is when they decide to hire someone for supervision, middle or upper management.

I do hope Essar Steel Algoma Ltd. has researched and found a contractor to aid them in their efforts to become a safer employer. If they have not, HRS Group Inc. stands ready to work with them and develop safe operating procedures for all aspects of their business.

The cost of safety is expensive only if there is a lack of a safety culture in the business. Essar Steel Algoma Ltd., I would wager, still has not developed the change in culture. They should have had that change before the first accident.

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 – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

Dan
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