Excerpt from the Ontario Government’s ‘Newsroom’
Conquest Resources Ltd., a gold exploration company, was fined $130,000 today for a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was killed.
In December 2007, Conquest hired an independent contractor to construct an ice road on Sturgeon Lake to service the company’s drilling activities. On December 24, 2007, the worker drove onto the lake alone to begin ploughing, fell through the ice, and drowned.
A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the worker was not given any current, accurate information about the thickness of the ice.
Conquest Resources Ltd. pleaded guilty under the OHSA to failing, as an employer, to provide information instruction and supervision to the worker to protect his health and safety.
The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Raymond Zuliani. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge on the total, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
The law(s) in contravention:
Conquest Resources Ltd. was in contravention of section 25, subsection 2(a) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), which states,
“An employer shall provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health and safety of the worker.”
Here we have another company not realizing that the health and safety of their worker was their #1 priority. Everything possible, (and reasonable) must be taken to ensure the safety of the worker.
The lack of information to provide the employee was not done here. Many things could have been checked and a special meeting prior would have accounted for the information to be provided, if it was brought up.
As far as I am concerned, Conquest Resources Ltd. easily could have been charged and convicted under numerous sections of the ACT and possible regulations. The supervisor could also been charged for not being competent because he/she did not know the thickness of the ice but sent the employee anyway.
Let’s hope that Conquest Resources Ltd. has learned its lesson and have corrective action in place to prevent a recurrence. They better as the MOL will make it a stipulation for Conquest to make in their final report.
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. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.