Blog Post #1103 – Company Fined $170,000 After Death of Worker at Orillia Quarry

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A worker, employed by Walker Aggregate, was killed after being pulled into moving machinery at his employer at his employer’s quarry at 2646 Nichols Line, Orillia, Ontario.

On February 6, 2017, workers at the Severn quarry were preparing machinery to go back into production after the customary six-week winter shutdown. The start-up process involved ensuring each piece of equipment, including conveyors, were operating. This work involved removing the ice buildup on the two conveyors.

Two workers were clearing the tension pulley of a conveyor. They had opened the wire mesh gates which restricted access to the pulley, and two were right beside the conveyor. There was no interlocking device in place, and the conveyor could run while the gates were open.

The conveyor and pulley were moving during this time.

While removing ice buildup on a pulley on the conveyor, a metal bar being used by the worker was caught by the pinch point formed between the conveyor and the steel drum of the pulley. As the conveyor moved, the bar was pulled in, and the worker holding the bar was pulled in with it, suffering fatal head injuries as a result. The worker was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency services.

The Ministry of Labour investigation determined that the conveyor was not de-energized, locked and tagged out while the ice was being removed from the pulley. In addition, it was not necessary to run the conveyor during this task, nor had any precautions been taken to prevent the worker from coming into contact with the conveyor’s moving parts.

These were offences under section 196(6) of the Mining Regulations, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and an offence under section 66(1) of the act.

Following a guilty plea, Walker Aggregates Inc. was fined $170,000 by Justice of the Peace Neil Burgess, in Orillia court (575 West Street South); Crown Counsel Judy L. Chan.

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

The law(s) in contravention:

 Walker Aggregate was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Mining and Mining Plants’ regulation 954/90, section 185, subsections 7 and 8 which states,

(7) “If any work is being done on a machine,

(a) the moving parts shall be stopped;

(b) any hydraulic, pneumatic or gravity stored energy shall be dissipated or contained;

(c) energy isolating devices shall be installed if the machine is not already equipped with them; and

(d) all energy isolating devices shall be properly engaged, locked and tagged.”

(8) “Before doing any work to which subsection (7) applies, a worker shall verify, by testing, that the requirements of that subsection have been complied with.”

Since this was a contravention of the regulations, the employer was also in contravention of 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.”

The original charges expressed regulation 854/90, section 196(6) instead of the one I used in this posting. As a regular visitor to the green book, I find it fascinating how many changes there are from year-to-year.

As a safety professional, I have to ensure that my company and staff stay current and up-to-date on regulatory changes to better serve our clients. To that end, we are considering day or nights courses on valued sections of the Act that can lead our clients to a better understanding of the intent of the safety regulations.

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

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.

P.S. Have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

In keeping with the theme of the blog and HRS Group Inc., “Have a Safe and Happy Holiday”!




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