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First Nickel Inc. Fined $1.3 Million After Two Workers Killed At Mine

Archived Court Bulletin

First Nickel Inc. Fined $1.3 Million After Two Workers Killed At Mine

Ministry of Labour

Convicted: First Nickel Inc., 1000 Gordon Lake Road, Chelmsford, Ontario, a mining company.

Location: Lockerby Mine, Chelmsford, Ontario.

Description of Offence: Two workers died after a fall of material.

Date of Offence: May 6, 2014.

Date of Sentence: February 20, 2018.

Penalty Imposed:

  •  Following a trial, the company was fined $1.3 million by JudgeDavid Stone in Sudbury court; Crown Counsel David McCaskill.
  • 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.

Background:

First Nickel was convicted on six counts of Ontario Regulation 854/90 (Mines and Mining Plants) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act for offences at the Lockerby Mine in Chelmsford:

  • Fine of $250,000: for failing as an employer to ensure that a workplace in an underground mine is kept free of accumulations or flow of water which might endanger a worker, contrary to section 87(1)(a) of the regulation.
  • Fine of $350,000: for failing as an employer to ensure that "an employer shall develop a quality control program for work in an underground mine to ensure that the ground support systems that are specified in the mine design are properly installed and remain effective while in use" (section 73(1) of the regulation).
  • Fine of $300,000: for failing as an employer to ensure that "where in an underground mine a potential or actual danger to the health or safety of a worker has not been remedied or removed at the end of a work shift, a record in writing shall be made by the supervisor of the work shift and signed by the supervisor describing the dangerous condition" (section 64(1)(a) of the regulation).
  • Fine of $100,000: for failing as an employer to ensure that "the written report required by section 51 of the act shall include, in addition to the occurrences referred to in section 53 of the act, a notice in writing shall be given where a fuse, a detonator or an explosive is found to be defective" (section 21(5)(g) of the regulation).
  • Fine of $150,000: for failing as an employer to  ensure that "an employer in a underground mine, in consultation with the joint health and safety committee, if any, for the mine, shall develop a written program to provide for the timely communication of information between workers and supervisors in the mine respective ground stability, ground movement, falls of ground, ground monitoring equipment and emergencies" (section 65(1) of the regulation.)
  • Fine of $150,000: for failing as an employer to ensure that "before work is begun in a workplace in an underground mine, the ground conditions of the workplace shall be examined for dangers and hazards and, if required, made safe" (section 66(1) of the regulation).
  • These were all offences under section 25(1)(c) under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
  • The fine is the largest one levied in an Ontario court for a mining fatality.
  • The mine closed in 2015.
  • The company was not represented in court and went out of business in 2016.

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