Company fined $70,000 for mine worker equipment injury

Worker injured using scooptram bucket

Toronto-based FNX Mining Company, operating as KGHM International, has been fined $70,000, plus a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The fine stems from an incident that occurred at the company’s copper ore mine near Sudbury, Ont. The conviction occurred on Sept. 7.

The company entered into a guilty plea for the Jan. 11, 2017 injury of their mine worker by equipment, while operating machinery to perform remote mucking (loading extracted ore) from a draw point (a funnel-shaped opening through which the ore is removed). The worker was using a scooptram (a load haul dump truck equipped with a front-mounted bucket, used to move broken rock/ore in a mine).

After some time, the worker noticed that the in-and-out movement of the scooptram in the draw point had damaged ventilation tubing and the area was filling up with the diesel fumes from the scooptram. A supervisor directed a second worker to help with the repair. 

The two workers placed a 5 foot by 11 foot section of screen mesh in the bucket of the scooptram, intending to elevate it at a particular place at the draw point, where it would be used. It was agreed that the first worker would work from the bucket to carry out the repairs, while the second worker would operate the scooptram.

About half of the mesh section was outside of the bucket, so the first worker got into the bucket and stood on top of the mesh to weigh it down and prevent it from moving. The second worker raised the bucket and curled it back, in order to lift the part of the mesh section that was still on the ground.

As the bucket rotated back and up, the worker in the bucket was pinched between the bucket and the frame of the machine as the hydraulic cylinder was closing. The worker suffered crushing injuries requiring surgery. 

The operator's guide for the scooptram states that riders should not be allowed in the bucket. The Ministry of Labour engineer who examined the scooptram concluded that the scooptram was not designed for the particular task for which it was being used, given the potential hazards of pinch points, among others.

FNX failed to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that the scooptram was used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and/or in a way in which it was designed to be used, contrary to section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. This is an offence under section 66(1) of the act.

Source: Ontario Ministry of Labour