Blog Post #448 – Muck Flood Kills Young Worker

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada Magazine

The failure to develop and implement safety procedures and devices to protect workers from a run of muck has landed Sherritt International Corporation, operating as Canada Talc, a $285,000 fine.

The natural resources company was sentenced on January 19, 2010 after pleading guilty to one breach of Ontario’s OH&S Act. MOL spokesperson Bruce Skeaff says that Sherritt International originally faced 10 similar counts, but all were dropped after receipt of the guilty plea.

A young worker at the Canada Talc mine in Madoc, Ontario died after becoming caught in a flood of muck — a mix of broken rock, sediment and water — on August 20, 2008.

The worker had been operating equipment to fill bins with muck flowing down from other areas of the mine, notes a statement from the MOL.

The ministry reports that during the night, a co-worker on the surface heard unusual sounds coming from the muck-loading area. Checking an underground camera, the worker saw an overflow of muck. The worker underground was called by phone, but when there was no response, a third worker was sent to investigate. Upon arrival, the muck overflow was apparent. The young worker had been asphyxiated.

Provincial OH&S investigators identified a number of shortcomings related to the incident: the young worker’s control station was located directly in front of the tunnel from which muck was flowing; water had been added to the muck to make it flow more quickly; the worker had not yet completed task-specific training; the employee was working alone; and the mine’s written procedures did not adequately address how to control the run of muck.

My opinion

I understand that the mine has now closed. Is it any wonder! Safety of the workforce has to be number one or the government of Ontario, through the Ministry of Labour, will initiate proceedings that may put your company out of business.

Please follow all guidelines as laid out in the Occupational Health and Safety Act as well as the Sector regulations appropriate to your workforce.

HRS Group Inc. has a quality staff ready to meet all your health and safety needs. We also have affiliations with other companies to better serve your needs as well.

Give Samantha a call at (705) 749-1249 or toll free at 1-877-907-7744 and see if our company can be an asset to yours.

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 ‘Due Diligence’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’.

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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