Lumber mill fatality results in $312K fine for mill owners

Worker was killed while operating a loader with fork attachments

Lumber mill fatality results in $312K fine for mill owners

Rayonier A.M. Canada Industries must pay a total of $312,500 for the fatality of a worker. The company was fined $250,000, plus a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge of 62,500.

On May 25, 2018, a worker was tasked with removing bundles of wood from the lumber mill's kiln and placing them in the yard. There was no eyewitness to the incident, which occurred at the company’s mill in Chapleau, Ont.

It is believed that a load of wood had been placed in the yard and that the worker had reversed the loader, then gotten out of the machine to place three "crossers" (small pieces of wood) on the pile, so as to create a space between the original bundle and the next bundle to be placed on top of it.

Two crossers were placed, and given their positioning and the length of the wood bundle involved, it is believed that the worker was in the process of placing a third crosser.

The loader rolled forward and pinned the worker between the loader and the wood bundle.

The worker died as a result of the subsequent injuries.

Inspection of the loader revealed no mechanical defects to the braking system. However, it was determined that the brake actuator had been modified by the addition of a spring which made the parking brake easier to release.

It was determined in the (then) Ministry of Labour's investigation that the forks of the loader had not been lowered securely to the ground, but rather had been resting on an 8" x 8" beam used to indicate where lumber bundles were to be placed.

The loader had been parked on ground that sloped toward the wood bundle that had previously been deposited. The slope was found to be 6.3 per cent on the left side of the loader and 5.6 per cent on the right side. The ground was uneven, with deep ruts in the soil. No wheel chocks had been applied to the loader's wheels.

Rayonier A.M. Canada Industries pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed in section 57 of Ontario's Regulation 851 (the Industrial Establishments Regulation) were carried out in the workplace, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act -that is, that a vehicle left unattended shall be immobilized and secured against accidental movement. 

Source: Ontario Ministry of Labour