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Mining company fined $365,000 after 2014 injury, death incidents

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by DCN News Services

THUNDER BAY, Ont.—Mining company Lac Des Iles Mines Ltd. has been fined $365,000 in relation to two separate incidents in 2014 where one worker was injured and another killed due to the movement of mined material.
Mining company fined $365,000 after 2014 injury, death incidents

According to the Ministry of Labour (MOL), on July 10, 2014 a miner was operating a "scoop tram," which is an underground loader similar to a front-end loader. The worker was hauling ore and was killed instantly after being struck and crushed by a run of muck or rock. The incident occurred at the 961 Stope Draw Point, which is 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," the release reads, adding a safe-limit line designates a hazard zone to workers.

The MOL reports it's unknown why the worker was ahead of the safe-limit line outside the cab of the loader, as the bucket was full of rock and raised. The engine was still running with the lights on and the operator cab door was open. A number of orders had been issued to the employer by the MOL, 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 release notes.

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. This is contrary to Section 84(1) of the Mining and Mining Plants Regulation. As a result Lac Des Iles Mines Ltd. was fined $300,000.

In an earlier incident on Feb. 22, 2014, an equipment operator was injured while working above ground at the mine's Regular Grade Ore stockpile. While the worker was loading mine haulage trucks with an excavator, the "working face of the stockpile failed," sending a large amount of material onto the excavator, crushing the operator's cab along with its controls and radio. The worker was trapped inside and unable to use the radio to call for help.

Another mine haulage truck operator discovered the worker, who had to be extricated by mine rescue personnel about two hours after the incident. The worker suffered hand and leg injuries.

As a result of this incident 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. This is contrary to Section 61(1)(b) of the regulation. The company was fined $65,000.

The fines were imposed by Senior Justice of the Peace Raymond Zuliani in a Thunder Bay court on Jan. 18.

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