Blog Post #1424 – Leak Prompts Emergency at Vale’s Nickel and Copper Smelter

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine (Sept. 2015)

An emergency was declared in Sudbury, Ontario, following the accidental release of nitrogen-oxide and nitrogen-dioxide mist into the outdoor air at Vale’s nickel and copper smelter on August 13, 2015.

A statement from the company reports that the leak occurred during a planned maintenance period at the Vale Acid Plant in the Copper Cliff area.

“Emergency measures were activated, and so as a precaution, a Level 3 emergency was called,” the company says. “The emergency air horn was sounded at approximately 6:00 am to notify residents in the nearby area.”

A level 3 emergency requires local residents to remain indoors and to shut off all furnaces and air conditioners until an “all clear” is declared. No one was injured in the incident. Within two and a half hours, Vale staff determined that wind speed and weather conditions had caused the mist to dissipate and that there was no risk to the community.

The “all clear” was determined at 8:26am, according to a statement. Roads around Copper Cliff were closed during the emergency, but were opened later that morning.

My opinion

I have written many blog posts about the “Safety Environment” (or lack of one) at Vale. Their safety record is tarnished at best. Not many companies have made it in a MOL court bulletin. Vale has made the list many times.

Here we have my 7th blog post for one company. That is, by far, the most by any company.

Please review the following for more information. Blog post: 47, 517, 525, 597, 693, 931, (of course not including this one)

This business as usual attitude is getting tiresome and accidents, some very serious, are a way of life for Vale.

Too bad for their workforce. They certainly deserve much, much better.

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

CEO and Training Director




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