Blog Post #441 – George Downing Estate Drilling Ltd. Fined $75,000 after Worker Injured

Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Succession Forage George Downing Ltee./George Downing Estate Drilling Limited, a Quebec mining company, was fined $75,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

On January 18, 2011, workers were drilling at the Shakespeare Nickel Mine, 70 km west of Greater Sudbury. One of the workers was operating the controls of a drill when part of the worker’s clothes got caught in the drill’s rotating rod. The worker was pulled into the rotating rod and severely injured.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that while there was a guard in place on the drill it did not entirely prevent access to the drill’s moving parts.

Succession Forage George Downing Ltee./George Downing Estate Drilling Limited pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the rotating rod of the drill was properly guarded.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Lori-Ann Toulouse. In addition to the fine, the court 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:

George Downing Estate Drilling Ltd. was found guilty of violating section 185, sub-section 2 of the Ontario ‘Mining and Mining Plants’ regulation 854/90 which states,

“A machine that has an exposed moving part that may endanger the safety of any person shall be fenced or guarded unless its position, construction or attachment provides equivalent protection.”

Every sector has its own section for ‘Machine Guarding.” Basically, any time a worker can come into contact with a moving part of a machine the machine must have a guard or other device to prevent access by the worker.

A JHSC, (joint health and safety committee) should have recognized the hazard and explained, to management, the risk involved. Now, I realize that not everyone can see everything, but, machine guarding is at the front lines when manufacturers design a machine so that the operator cannot be harmed or, at least, has a greater chance of protection against a possible accident.

I hope the JHSC did not report this on an earlier report. If they had, the fine may well have been much larger since the company had a possible chance to prevent this accident from happening.

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 ‘Machine Guarding’. 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 – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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