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Firms fined for roles in South Porcupine mine injury

DCN News Service
Firms fined for roles in South Porcupine mine injury

TIMMINS, ONT. — Two defendants, one a mining company and the other a paving company, pleaded guilty and have been fined a total of $95,000 after a worker was injured when a hopper containing sand toppled over.

The incident took place at a project owned by Goldcorp Canada Ltd., operating as Porcupine Gold Mines, near 4361 Gold Mine Rd. in South Porcupine, Ont. on Sept. 24, 2014, recounts a Ministry of Labour media statement.

The worker was employed by Miller Paving Ltd., operating as Miller Paving Northern.

The project involved a three-ton sand hopper that was being used to direct sand into old mine voids located at the site.

At the time of the incident, the hopper was positioned above a drilled rock hole.

The sand was not moving freely inside the hopper and the worker used an air lancer to facilitate sand movement. The worker was using the air lancer from ground level when a sudden shift of sand within the hopper occurred and the hopper began to tip over.

The worker, who was near the hopper, attempted to run clear of it but the hopper and the sand fell on the worker. The supervisor and co-workers were able to free the worker, who sustained injuries.

A subsequent Ministry of Labour inspection revealed that the hopper was not built to any engineering specification that would ensure stability and prevent tipping without the use of a ballast.

There were also no records of supporting specifications. The hopper support frame was rectangular and did not provide complete support for the hopper in one plane of motion, and therefore shift of the material in the hopper could affect the hopper’s stability.

Goldcorp Canada and Miller Paving both pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by section 31(1)(b) of Regulation 213/91 — the Construction Projects Regulation — were carried out at the project, contrary to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Specifically, they pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the hopper was adequately braced to prevent any movement that may affect its stability or cause its failure or collapse.

Goldcorp was fined $55,000 and Miller Paving was fined $40,000 by Justice of the Peace Sylvie-Emanuelle Bourbonnais in a Timmins court on Jan. 26, 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.

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