Blog Post #994 – Domtar Receives $50,000 Fine After Worker Injury in Espanola

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Paper and wood fibre producer Domtar Inc., pleaded guilty and was fined $50,000 in court after a worker suffered a permanent injury caused by a machine.

The incident took place at Domtar’s paper mill in Espanola on 1 Station Road on July 18, 2015.

On that day, a worker was cutting a section of dryer felt on a paper machine in the course of performing a repair. The paper machine was mechanically and electrically locked out, as required by Domtar’s policies.

Upon cutting the dryer felt, elastic stretch in the paper machine was released.  As a result, a chain and sprocket mechanism moved, and the worker received injuries that included loss of dexterity.

Court was told that employees failed to block the chain to prevent movement in the course of repair work. This was an offence contrary to section 75(b) of Ontario’s Industrial Establishments Regulation (Regulation 851)

Justice of the Peace Diane Lafleur fined the company $50,000 in Espanola court on June 8, 2017.

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

Domtar Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial Establishments’ sector regulation 851/90, section 75, subsection (b) which states,

“A part of a machine, transmission machinery, device or thing shall be cleaned, oiled, adjusted, repaired or have maintenance work performed on it only when,

(b) any part that has been stopped and that may subsequently move and endanger a worker has been blocked to prevent its movement.”

There was no need for any of this to happen. Lockout and Tagout training includes the possibility of blocking a machine’s possible movement and this was either not originally identified or not addressed and the lockout tagout information meeting.

Training! Training! Training!

The worker should have never been placed in any danger if the hazard assessment was completed and the hazard was controlled.

The goal of lockout/tagout procedures is to stop energy from accidentally being released while machines and equipment are being maintained, serviced or repaired. Locks and tags help to prevent equipment, machinery or materials from accidentally starting up. Lockout/tagout ensures that everything remains temporarily off.

Seven steps of effective and safe lockout/tagout procedures:

  1. Preparation
  2. Communications
  3. Shut down
  4. Isolation
  5. Application
  6. Control
  7. Verification


  • Preparation Proper planning and preparation


  • Determine what and who will be involved
  • Determine length of time to complete project
  • Knowledge of energy and associated hazards


  • CommunicationsNotify all personnel


  • will be affected by lockout/tagout
  • needs to know a lockout/tagout procedure is taking place
    • why lockout/tagout is taking place


  • Steps in ShutdownIdentify and locate and turn off sources of power
  • Include all sources of energy
  • Follow procedures
  • Protect employees from hazards
  • Guard against stored energy
  • Steps in IsolationIsolate or Neutralize all energy to the equipment


  • Apply lock to energy-isolating device
  • Dissipate or restrain stored energy
  • Reposition, disconnect, block, drain or bleed


  • Steps in ApplicationEach worker to apply a lock and/or tag on the equipment, machinery, or materials


  • Key not to be given to anyone else
  • Notify supervisor if key or tag lying around
  • Use only assigned individual locks or tags


  • Steps in ControlAll stored energy MUST reach a “zero energy state”
    • Release tension
    • Block or brace parts
    • Open drains,
    • Relieve pressure
    • Bleed lines
    • Cycle the system


  • Steps in VerificationConfirm Isolation and de-energization


  • Double-check all steps
  • Conduct a personal check
  • Verify all isolation
    • Protect employees
    • Nothing can be moved to the “on” position
    • Press and activate controls
    • Shut off controls after completing test
    • Ensure controls are in “neutral” or “off” position after test

I will close this blog post with another piece of legislation that would cover this particular issue. Section 42, of regulation 851/90, sections 1 and 2 state,

“The power supply to electrical installations, equipment or conductors shall be disconnected, locked out of service and tagged before any work is done, and while it is being done, on or near live exposed parts of the installations, equipment or conductors.

(2) Before beginning the work, each worker shall determine if the requirements of subsection (1) have been complied with.”

Do you hear it? Verify that the lockout has been completed properly.

HRS Group Inc. can send a trainer to your worksite to deliver a lockout and tagout course to the general legislative requirements. Call Deborah at (705) 749-1249 and set up an appointment. We travel anywhere in Ontario and would be enjoy dealing with setting up LOTO training and the development of LOTO procedures .

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

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’, ‘Lockout and Tagout’, ‘Maintenance and Repair Safety’ 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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