Lac Des Iles Mines Ltd Fined $365,000 by Ontario

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THUNDER BAY – Lac Des Iles Mines Ltd. has been fined a total of $365,000 after separate incidents in 2014 in which one worker was injured and another killed due to the movement of mined material.

On July 10, 2014, one miner was operating a scoop tram (underground loader, similar to a front-end loader) hauling ore and was killed instantly upon being struck and crushed by a run of muck or rock. The incident occurred at the 961 Stope Draw Point, an opening at the bottom of an inclined excavation through which broken ore was being extracted. The worker was found lifeless in a location about 6.75 metres ahead of the ‘safe-limit line’ (also known as a “no-go” line) painted on the wall. A safe-limit line designates a hazard zone to workers.

It was not known why the worker was ahead of the safe-limit line outside the cab of the loader; the bucket was full of rock and raised, its engine still running with lights on and the operator cab door was open.

The Ministry of Labour issued a number of orders to the employer, including one to ensure that written safety precautions and procedures were established and used before, during and after removal of material. The employer complied with the order by developing a written policy that no worker outside a loader would be permitted ahead of the safe-limit line without permission from a supervisor.

The employer was found guilty of failing to ensure that written safety precautions and procedures were established and followed to prevent a worker from being outside of a loader while ahead of the safe-limit line, contrary to Section 84(1) of the Mining and Mining Plants Regulation, and fined $300,000.

Earlier, on February 22, 2014, another equipment operator was injured while working above ground at the mine’s Regular Grade Ore stockpile working face. The worker was loading mine haulage trucks with an excavator when the working face of the stockpile failed, sending a large amount of material onto the excavator. It crushed the operator’s cab, its controls and radio, trapping the worker inside where the worker was unable to radio for assistance, shut down the motor or get free of the cab.

Another mine haulage truck operator discovered the trapped worker and mine rescue personnel extricated the worker about two hours after the incident. The worker suffered hand and leg injuries.

The employer was found guilty of failing to ensure that a stockpile of unconsolidated material was made safe before a worker was allowed to work close to or on top of the stockpile, contrary to Section 61(1)(b) of the regulation, and fined $65,000.

The fines were imposed by Senior Justice of the Peace Raymond Zuliani in Thunder Bay court on January 18, 2016.

In addition to the fines, 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.

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