Marten Falls Forest Development Corporation fined $90,000 for health and safety violations

Archived Release

Marten Falls Forest Development Corporation fined $90,000 for health and safety violations

Ministry of Labour

THUNDER BAY, ON, Nov. 24 - Marten Falls Forest Development Corporation, a First Nations logging company which operated in a forest area northwest of Nakina, Ont., was fined $90,000 on November 19, 2003 for three violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that resulted in the death of an employee. On December 7, 2000, a worker involved in a logging operation was hit in the back/neck area by a tree while returning from lunch. The worker was pronounced dead at the scene. A Ministry of Labour investigation found that a second worker had cut the tree through its base earlier in the day, but the tree had not fallen. The second worker had left the tree standing without warning co-workers. When the second worker later returned with a machine intending to knock down the tree, the tree fell onto the first worker, who had not been made aware of the hazard. Both the deceased worker and the worker who felled the tree had only completed their cutter training four days earlier, and they had been left to work with no supervisor. The incident occurred at a logging operation in Ogoki Forest on Ogoki Road, about 60 kilometres (37 miles) northwest of Nakina, which is about 250 kilometres (155 miles) northeast of Thunder Bay. Following a trial, Marten Falls Forest Development Corporation was found guilty, as an employer, of: 1. Failing to ensure a tree was felled only after all workers, other than the logger who was felling the tree, were cleared from the danger area, as required by Section 109(a)(i) of the Regulations for Industrial Establishments. This was contrary to Section 25(1)(c) of the act; 2. Failing to ensure the logger kept the felling area clear of all workers while a tree was "hung up" (the tree had been cut through the base, but had not fallen), and failing to ensure the "hung up" tree was felled immediately by winching or pulling using a chain or cable from a safe distance or by other safe means, as required by Section 110(a) and Section 110 (b)(i) of the Regulations for Industrial Establishments. This was contrary to Section 25(1)(c) of the act; and 3. Failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker sufficient to protect the safety of a worker who was working in the vicinity of a "hung up" tree. This was contrary to Section 25(2)(a) of the act. Marten Falls Forest Development Corporation was a new company that had been in operation for only 24 days when the accident occurred. Justice of the Peace Gordon Buterin, of the Ontario Court of Justice in Thunder Bay, fined the company $30,000 on each count. In addition, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Court Information at a Glance ----------------------------- Location: Ontario Court of Justice 100 N. Archibald Street Thunder Bay, Ontario Judge: Justice of the Peace Gordon Buterin Date / Time: November 19, 2003, 1:30 p.m. Defendant: Marten Falls Forest Development Corporation Matter: Occupational Health & Safety ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Disponible en fran├žais For more information visit www.gov.on.ca/lab/For further information: Contacts: Belinda Sutton, Ministry of Labour, (416) 326-7405; Wes Wilson, Crown Counsel, Legal Services Branch, Ministry of Labour, (416) 326-7977