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Toronto firm fined as Timmins mine safety plan goes awry, resulting in critical injury

DCN News Services
Toronto firm fined as Timmins mine safety plan goes awry, resulting in critical injury

TIMMINS, ONT. — A Toronto firm has been fined for its role in an incident in which a worker active at a mine site in Timmins, Ont. was dragged and critically injured due to misuse of safety equipment.

Orica Canada Inc., a provider of services to the mining industry, was convicted in a Timmins court June 28 in relation to a mishap that occurred at Goldcorp’s Hollinger Pit on March 20, 2017.

That day the worker was assigned the task of taping holes at the pit, a Ministry of Labour (MOL) release recounts.

That process involved measuring the length of drilled holes and reporting the measurements by radio to a co-worker to record the measurements.

That area of the pit was considered a restricted zone. This meant that, owing to previous underground work in the area, there was a risk of ground instability.

The procedure for working in a restricted zone was to wear a body harness for fall protection and to be tethered to a vehicle parked near the pit.

If the fall protection equipment used did not involve a self-retracting line, a spotter was required to watch over the worker in the restricted zone and to keep the tethering line taut.

In addition, the vehicle serving as the anchor was to be turned off and a master switch locked out; or, if there was no master switch on the vehicle, it was to be locked and the keys were to be in the possession of the worker tied off to the vehicle.

On the day of the incident, a Goldcorp worker was acting as spotter, and it was this person’s truck being used as the fall protection anchor.

Around 11 a.m. that worker left the area with the truck in order to take other workers for lunch.

The Orica supervisor arrived at the pit as the spotter left the area, parking his truck facing the pit, and engaged in a cellphone call with another supervisor.

The worker performing the taping and measuring approached this truck and indicated there were further holes to tape, and wanted to be tied off to this vehicle.

The supervisor on the other end of the call heard the supervisor give permission to do so and also heard a suggestion that the worker could take a break.

The release indicated the co-worker recording the measurements arrived shortly after this and pulled his truck parallel to that of the Orica supervisor’s.

The co-worker was aware the fall arrest equipment was clipped to the supervisor’s truck, spoke briefly with the worker performing the measuring, and clipped the fall arrest equipment to his co-worker’s harness.

Returning to the pit, the worker was anchored to the supervisor’s vehicle. There was no spotter, nor did the worker have the keys to the supervisor’s truck, the MOL states.

A few minutes later, the supervisor finished the conversation with the other supervisor, put his vehicle in gear, and drove away.

The worker who was still tethered to the truck was pulled out of the pit and dragged behind the truck until becoming wedged under the second truck. The worker sustained significant injuries.

Orica Canada Inc. pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the safety of the worker, contrary to section 25(2)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Orica was fined $65,000.

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