Abitibi Consolidated Fined $125,000 Over Injuries


FORT FRANCES – Abitibi Consolidated Company of Canada, owner and operator of a paper mill in Fort Frances, was fined $125,000 on July 9, 2010, for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that caused injuries to two workers and a student.

On August 20, 2008, two electricians at the paper mill were changing the power box for part of a paper machine. The power to the box was locked out. The power to the cabinet containing the box was not shut off or locked out. As the electricians removed the power box, they noticed a cable inside the cabinet that needed to be moved. One of them reached into the cabinet with a tool to remove a clamp holding the cable in place. The tool made electrical contact with a live conductor inside the cabinet and this created an arc flash. This caused another arc flash from the live conductors overhead.

The two electricians suffered first, second and third degree burns. A student who was watching them suffered first degree burns.

Abitibi Consolidated Company of Canada pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a tool was not used near a live electrical installation to prevent electrical contact with a live conductor.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Patricia Clydesdale-Cornell. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

Abitibi Consolidated Company of Canada is currently under the protection of the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act. The fine was stayed pending the completion of that matter.

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