TORONTO — Noront Steel (1981) Ltd. has been fined $70,000 after a worker received critical injuries when a steel drum exploded at its steel fabrication facility in the City of Greater Sudbury, Ont. in August 2018.
The conviction was handed down January 13, 2020 following a guilty plea in provincial offences court in Sudbury by Justice of the Peace Sharon K. Ashick.
When Noront produced small steel objects, it stored and shipped them in 45-gallon steel drums which were obtained used from other facilities.
Typically, the top would be cut off at Noront using an oxy-acetylene torch, and holes would be cut in the bottom of the barrel for drainage purposes, indicates a Ministry of Labour release, adding the barrels would be worked on in the condition they were received and were not cleaned out first.
On the day of the incident, a worker was cutting drainage holes into a drum with a torch when the barrel exploded into flames and the worker received critical injuries.
Investigation by the Centre for Forensic Sciences determined that the barrel contained flammable substances, included acetone, methyl ethyl ketone and toluene, the release states.
Section 78(1)(b) of the Industrial Establishments Regulation (Regulation 851) requires that “…where alternations are to be made on a drum, tank…or other container…[it] shall be drained and cleaned or otherwise rendered free from any explosive, flammable or harmful substance.”
The barrel that exploded was not free from explosive and flammable substances before it was provided to the worker for cutting. The contents of the barrel were not communicated to the worker and the label on the barrel indicated its contents were a substance that was not combustible, adds the release.