ArcelorMittal Dofasco fined $290,000 for 2018 violations

Two workers were exposed to carbon monoxide leak, another injured while working on a machine

ArcelorMittal Dofasco fined $290,000 for 2018 violations
ArcelorMittal failed to “limit the exposure of workers to a hazardous biological or chemical agent,” as prescribed in regulation. (ricochet64 /

Steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal Dofasco was fined $290,000 for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act that exposed two workers to carbon monoxide and left one other injured in Hamilton, according to the Ministry of Labour.

ArcelorMittal was fined $170,000 for a May 23, 2018 incident where two workers were exposed to more than the allowed limit of carbon monoxide while they were cleaning a platform on the outside of a blast furnace. The two were sweeping the area when the blast furnace malfunctioned. Gases and dust contained in the furnace erupted and engulfed the workers.

They were both wearing carbon monoxide detectors, which began sounding alarms, signalling that they were exposed to more than 1,000 ppm (parts of gas per million parts of air), the limit of the detectors. They were not wearing their self-contained breathing apparatuses but put them on later.

The workers attended the employer's medical facility, where they were placed on oxygen therapy for carbon monoxide exposure; they were subsequently treated at a hospital. A former Ministry of Labour hygienist calculated that the workers inhaled about 1,137 to 6,237 ppm in the incident.

Ontario’s Regulation 833 or the Control of Exposure to Biological or Chemical Agents requires employers to ensure that workers' exposure to hazardous substances is below the set 25 ppm as an eight-hour and 40-hour time-weighted average (TWA) limit. Additionally, the exposure to CO must not exceed three times the TWA (75 ppm) for any period of 30 minutes and five times the TWA (125 ppm) at any time.

ArcelorMittal also violated section 4 of Regulation 833/90 which states that "every employer shall take the measures required by that section to limit the exposure of workers to a hazardous biological or chemical agent."

The company was also charged $120,000 for a Dec. 6, 2018 incident where a worker came into contact with the pinch point of two rollers and suffered critical injuries.

While working on the coil prep line, the worker attempted to feed flat stock material into a pair of rollers. The worker used a control switch with one hand while trying to guide the steel between the two rollers with the other hand, but accidentally moved the switch in reverse instead of forward. This caused the worker to come into contact with the pinch point of the two rollers.

After investigation, the ministry found that there were perimeter gates, access panels and guardrails on the north side of the roller that prevented access from that side, but none on the south side, where the worker was standing. Though there was a shield present, it was inadequate as the worker was able to gain access to the pinch point by reaching across it.

This was in violation of section 25 of Ontario Regulation 851 or the Industrial Establishments Regulation). The law states that "an in-running nip hazard or any part of a machine, device or thing that may endanger the safety of any worker shall be equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevents access to the pinch point." 

For both incidents, the court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act, which is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

Also in both incidents, the Ontario Ministry of Labour determined that ArcelorMittal violated section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.