TORONTO — Walker Aggregates Inc. has been fined $170,000 following an incident where a worker was killed after being pulled into moving machinery.
Following a guilty plea, Justice of the Peace Neil Burgess fined Walker Aggregates in an Orillia court March 12.
The company, based in Niagara Falls, Ont., produces limestone, sand and gravel from 15 quarries in southwestern Ontario.
On Feb. 6, 2017, workers at the Severn Quarry in Orillia were preparing machinery to go back into production after the customary six-week winter shutdown.
The start-up process involved ensuring each piece of equipment, including conveyors, were operating. This involved removing the ice buildup on the two conveyors.
Two workers were clearing the tension pulley of a conveyor and had opened the wire mesh gates which restricted access to the pulley, and two were right beside the conveyor, explained a court bulletin issued by the Ministry of Labour (MOL), adding there was no interlocking device in place and the conveyor could run while the gates were open.
While removing ice buildup on a pulley on the conveyor, which was moving, a metal bar being used by the worker was caught by the pinch point formed between the conveyor and the steel drum of the pulley.
As the conveyor moved, the bar was pulled in and the worker holding the bar was pulled in with it, suffering fatal head injuries as a result, the MOL reported. The worker was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency services.
According to Section 196(6) of the Mines and Mining Regulation (Regulation 854), a conveyor shall be stopped and the prime mover de-energized, locked and tagged out when the conveyor is undergoing repairs, adjustments or maintenance unless it is necessary to run the conveyor during such work and effective precautions are taken to prevent injury to a worker from moving parts.
The MOL investigation determined the conveyor was not de-energized, locked and tagged out while the ice was being removed from the pulley and added it was not necessary to run the conveyor during this task, nor had any precautions been taken to prevent the worker from coming into contact with the conveyor’s moving parts.
These were offences under section 196(6) of the Mining Regulations, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and an offence under section 66(1) of the act.