Blog Post #1250 – Lumber Mill Fatality in Chapleau Results in $250,000 Fine for Mill Owners

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A worker employed by Rayonier A.M. Canada Industries Inc., was killed while operating a loader with fork attachments. The mill was previously owned by Tembec Industries.

A worker was tasked with removing bundles of wood from the lumber mill’s kiln and placing them in the yard. There was no eye witness to the incident.

It is believed that a load of wood had been placed in the yard and that the worker had reversed the loader, then gotten out of the machine to place three “crossers” (small pieces of wood) on the pile, so as to create a space between the original bundle and the next bundle to be placed on top of it.

Two crossers were placed, and given their positioning and the length of the wood bundle involved, it is believed that the worker was in the process of placing a third crosser.

The loader rolled forward and pinned the worker between the loader and the wood bundle. The worker died as a result of the subsequent injuries.

Inspection of the loader revealed no mechanical defects to the braking system. However, it was determined that the brake actuator had been modified by the addition of a spring which made the parking brake easier to release.

It was determined in the Ministry of Labour’s investigation that the forks of the loader had not been lowered securely to the ground, but rather had been resting on an 8″ x 8″ beam used to indicate where lumber bundles were to be placed.

The loader had been parked on ground that sloped toward the wood bundle that had previously been deposited. The slope was found to be 6.3 per cent on the left side of the loader and 5.6 per cent on the right side. The ground was uneven, with deep ruts in the soil. No wheel chocks had been applied to the loader’s wheels.

Following a guilty plea, Rayonier A.M. Canada Industries Inc. was fined $250,000 in provincial offences court in Chapleau by Justice of the Peace Nathalie Breton; Crown Counsel Wes Wilson.

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:

Rayonier A.M. Canada Industries Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ sector regulation 851/90, section 57 which states,

“A vehicle left unattended shall be immobilized and secured against accidental movement.”

This is contrary to 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 training for this piece of equipment is either loader training with multiple attachments OR Class VII forklift Certification (Rough Terrain)

As an instructor for Forklift trainer, I can tell you that the forks must be on the floor and the park brake set, before getting off the vehicle. It sounds like the operator was not privy to this information OR was complacent in his driving technique and was also not properly supervised to ensure the safe handling of the vehicle.

Too bad for the operator and his/her family!

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Forklift Certification’ and ‘Forklift Re-Certification’. 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.



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