Company Fined $170,000 After Death of Worker at Orillia Quarry
Convicted: Walker Aggregates Inc., 2800 Thorold Townline Road, Niagara Falls, Ontario, carrying on business producing limestone, sand and gravel from 15 quarries in southwestern Ontario.
Location: A Walker Aggregates quarry at 2646 Nichols Line, Orillia, Ontario.
Description of Offence: A worker was killed after being pulled into moving machinery.
Date of Offence: February 6, 2017.
Date of Conviction: March 12, 2018.
- Following a guilty plea, Walker Aggregates Inc. was fined $170,000 by Justice of the Peace Neil Burgess, in Orillia court (575 West Street South); Crown Counsel Judy L. Chan.
- The court also 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.
- On February 6, 2017, workers at the Severn quarry were preparing machinery to go back into production after the customary six-week winter shutdown. The start-up process involved ensuring each piece of equipment, including conveyors, were operating. This work involved removing the ice buildup on the two conveyors.
- Two workers were clearing the tension pulley of a conveyor. They had opened the wire mesh gates which restricted access to the pulley, and two were right beside the conveyor. There was no interlocking device in place, and the conveyor could run while the gates were open.
- The conveyor and pulley were moving during this time.
- While removing ice buildup on a pulley on the conveyor, a metal bar being used by the worker was caught by the pinch point formed between the conveyor and the steel drum of the pulley. As the conveyor moved, the bar was pulled in, and the worker holding the bar was pulled in with it, suffering fatal head injuries as a result. The worker was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency services.
- Section 196(6) of the Mines and Mining Regulation (Regulation 854) states that a conveyor shall be stopped and the prime mover de-energized, locked and tagged out when the conveyor is undergoing repairs, adjustments or maintenance unless (a) it is necessary to run the conveyor during such work; and (b) effective precautions are taken to prevent injury to a worker from moving parts.
- The Ministry of Labour investigation determined that the conveyor was not de-energized, locked and tagged out while the ice was being removed from the pulley. In addition, it was not necessary to run the conveyor during this task, nor had any precautions been taken to prevent the worker from oming into contact with the conveyor's moving parts.
- These were offences under section 196(6) of the Mining Regulations, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and an offence under section 66(1) of the act.