Ontario mining company fined $75K for worker injury

Worker was entangled with machinery

Ontario mining company fined $75K for worker injury
The company was fined $75K as well as an additional 25 per cent victim surcharge.

Cobalt, Ontario-based SMC (Canada) Ltd. – a company that extracts and recovers precious metals in mining mills – was fined $75,000 plus a 25 per cent victim surcharge after pleading guilty for violating the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The incident took place on Feb. 7, 2019, when a worker was assigned to work in the crusher house where ore is moved through the crushing process on various conveyors before being processed in the mill.

A conveyor belt in the crusher house was being started up for the day and was not working appropriately. A millwright asked the worker to go to the head end of the conveyor to apply belt dressing to help address the slipping belt.

However, the millwright neither gave the worker specific instructions on how to complete the task, and nor directed the worker to a designated location where the spray could be applied in a safe manner while the belt was running. Also, the head pulley area of the conveyor was not equipped with a guard to protect a worker from a pinch point.

The worker stood near the head pulley and applied a spray product while the belt was in motion.

The worker was standing on a small mound of spilled loose gravel while completing this task. While repositioning the product from one hand to the other, the worker lost footing and slipped towards the running belt, and got entangled between the running belt and the conveyor frame. 

The worker suffered a critical injury as a result. The injury required transportation to Sudbury for medical attention.

According to the Ontario government, the defendant “failed to have a means to safely apply belt dressing while the conveyor was in motion as required by subsection 196(2) of the Mines and Mining Plants Regulation (Regulation 854)”, thereby violating paragraph 25(1)(c) of the act.