Blog Post #1354 – Fatality Results in $200,000 Fine for Val Caron-based Mining Company

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A worker was fatally injured, on August 19, 2019, while performing drilling work at a quarry in River Valley. The worker was employed by Consbec Inc., of Val Caron, Ontario, a company that provides mining contracting services.

A worker employed by Consbec, Inc., was drilling in preparation for a blast at the River Valley Quarry, Pit Number 1. He was riding upon a self-contained hydraulic track drill equipped with steel tracks for movement.

The area of the quarry in which it was operating had a number of sloped surfaces of varying degrees of gradient.

The worker was in the process of driving the rock drill forward towards the next hole to be drilled in the quarry when the drilling unit began to slide down the outcrop rock face. While attempting to jump clear, the machine tipped over injuring the worker.

The worker was promptly air lifted to an emergency medial centre but later succumbed to their injuries.

A Ministry investigation revealed two main factors leading to the incident; the drill rig was equipped with steel tracks that did not provide sufficient traction on the sheer rock surface to prevent sliding of the machine on a slope, and, the drill rig was not equipped with any gauge or monitoring guide to inform the operator of the degree of slope the machine was operating on.

The absence of the gauge or monitoring guide left the worker unable to ensure the machine was not operating on a dangerous gradient which could cause it to slide uncontrollably.

As a result, it was found the employer failed to provide the worker with the proper information to protect the safety of the worker, contrary to s. 25(2)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Following a guilty plea in the Superior Court of Justice, North Bay, Consbec, Inc. was fined $200,000 by Judge Lawrence Kline; 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

The law(s) in contravention:

Consbec Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, section 25, subsection 2(a) which states,

“An employer shall,

  • provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker.”

One of the many topics I discuss with my students, concerns all the information necessary to do their work. ANY information missing from the employer is against the section. I bring up the topic that nameplates, or the lack thereof, on lifting devices, must be legible so that crucial information on them can be located and the operator is fed enough information to be safe.

Here we find that not only was the machine inadequate but the task for the operator required safer equipment and the operator was not aware of that.

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 

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

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









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