Blog Post #1093 – First Nickel Inc. Fined $1.3 Million After Two Workers Killed at Mine

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Two workers died after a fall of material at the First Nickel Inc., in Chelmsford, Ontario, a mining company.

First Nickel was convicted on six counts of Ontario Regulation 854/90 (Mines and Mining Plants) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act for offences at the Lockerby Mine in Chelmsford:

Fine of $250,000: for failing as an employer to ensure that a workplace in an underground mine is kept free of accumulations or flow of water which might endanger a worker, contrary to section 87(1)(a) of the regulation.

Fine of $350,000: for failing as an employer to ensure that “an employer shall develop a quality control program for work in an underground mine to ensure that the ground support systems that are specified in the mine design are properly installed and remain effective while in use” (section 73(1) of the regulation).

Fine of $300,000: for failing as an employer to ensure that “where in an underground mine a potential or actual danger to the health or safety of a worker has not been remedied or removed at the end of a work shift, a record in writing shall be made by the supervisor of the work shift and signed by the supervisor describing the dangerous condition” (section 64(1)(a) of the regulation).

Fine of $100,000: for failing as an employer to ensure that “the written report required by section 51 of the act shall include, in addition to the occurrences referred to in section 53 of the act, a notice in writing shall be given where a fuse, a detonator or an explosive is found to be defective” (section 21(5)(g) of the regulation).

Fine of $150,000: for failing as an employer to  ensure that “an employer in a underground mine, in consultation with the joint health and safety committee, if any, for the mine, shall develop a written program to provide for the timely communication of information between workers and supervisors in the mine respective ground stability, ground movement, falls of ground, ground monitoring equipment and emergencies” (section 65(1) of the regulation.)

Fine of $150,000: for failing as an employer to ensure that “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” (section 66(1) of the regulation).

These were all offences under section 25(1)(c) under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Following a trial, the company was fined $1.3 million by Judge David Stone in Sudbury court; Crown Counsel David McCaskill.

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.

My opinion

I was wondering if the company will actually pay the fine? First Nickel went out of business in 2016 and the fines were issued in 2018. Hard to collect from a dead company!

The goal is still the same. Protection of the workforce through policies, procedures, training and supervisor/employer/constructor/owner/director “Due Diligence”. If you are any one of these, please ensure that you have been properly trained in the guidelines of “Due Diligence”.

Change your work culture to “Safety” instead of one of “Indifference”. It only costs if you do not!

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

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 

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.


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