THUNDER BAY – BUSINESS – Resolute Forest Products Inc., a pulp and paper company headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, has been convicted of failing to ensure the safety of its workers at their Thunder Bay, Ontario location.
The conviction stems from an incident on July 31, 2021, in which a worker was seriously injured while improperly using equipment to move a transformer without appropriate steering handles and pads.
The Ontario Court of Justice, Thunder Bay Court, imposed a fine of $120,000 on Resolute Forest Products Inc. following a guilty plea, and also imposed a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. Crown Counsels were Jeff Ludlow and Line Forestier.
During the incident, workers were asked to bring a replacement transformer to another part of the facility. They used a forklift to push the transformer, which weighed over 22,000 lbs. Instead of using the appropriate steering handles and pre-load pads for the Hillman rollers placed under each corner of the transformer, they used ball peen hammers to adjust its direction, which caused the transformer to topple on its side, injuring one of the workers. Resolute Forest Products Inc. failed to ensure the safety of its workers during the move, violating section 45(a) of the Regulation for Industrial Establishments and section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
MPP Lise Vaugeois (Thunder Bay – Superior North) released the following statement, “This is a wake-up call and a powerful reminder to all corporations that workplace safety cannot be overlooked. The recent $120,000 fine imposed on Resolute Forest Products Inc. serves as a lesson to companies that the health and wellness of their workers must always be a top priority. Workplace safety is not just a legal obligation but a moral one. The NDP stands firm in advocating for stronger regulations and enforcement to prevent such incidents and create a safer work environment for all workers. It’s time for corporations to prioritize the well-being of their workers. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of those who power our economy.”