Blog Post #753 – Fall Results in Worker Fatality at a Potash Mine

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

A construction worker in Saskatchewan has succumbed to injuries sustained from an 18-metre fall.

The incident involving an employee of PCL Constructors Inc. took place on July 13, 2013 at the Agrium Inc. potash mine near Vanscoy, Saskatchewan.

Ray Anthony, director of safety services with Saskatchewan Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety in Regina, says the department is investigating the matter and will focus on root causes and regulatory compliance.

Spokesperson for PCL Constructors Mike Long says the company is conducting its own internal investigation. “We are focused on the families involved,” supporting our workers and completing the investigations into this tragedy,” he notes, adding that work on-site was shut down for a couple of days, but operations resumed on July 15, 2013.

In the past few years, Agrium Inc. has been the site of two separate workplace fatalities. On August 31, 2006 on Agrium employee was seriously injured after he was crushed by falling rock while operating a boring machine at the Vanscoy mine. The company was fined a total of $234,000 in 2008 after pleading guilty to failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its employee.

On May 11, 2010, a 59-year old worker was fatally struck by a piece of equipment that had fallen six storeys. The labour department issued a hazard alert to all OH&S committees and mine managers, ordering them to stop using the “single-sling pipe method,” whereby a sling is used to attach material to a pipe that is being lifted. Agrium was fined $420,000 last year for failing to provide or maintain a system of work or working environment that ensured, as far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of a worker.

My opinion

I was very pleased to see the large fines issued by the province of Saskatchewan. It was gratified to see that they want to get out from any other province’s shadow and show the rest of Canada that they are very serious about occupational health and safety. Very nice! (The province of Alberta should take note)

Always remember that the worker is entitled to a safe work environment. If you run a business in the province of Saskatchewan and you do not believe in protecting your workers then expect the same size of fine. (maybe some jail time as well) Companies like that should be heavily monitored and regularly visited by the provincial safety government agencies.

I would also suggest to employ a safety professional to help you get to the best safety culture you can. It is much cheaper than the $654,000 Agrium Inc. had to pay. I promise!

Remember – In Canada, “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’, ‘Mining Safety Awareness’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 

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

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



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