Ontario fines Goldcorp, Miller Paving for 2014 contractor injury

27th January 2017 By: Henry Lazenby - Creamer Media Deputy Editor: North America

VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – Justice of the Peace Sylvie-Emanuelle Bourbonnais in Timmins court on Thursday fined Goldcorp C$55 000 and Miller Paving C$40 000 for a September 2014 accident in which a contractor was injured.

The two defendants pled guilty after the worker was injured when a hopper containing sand toppled over.

According to a court bulletin, the incident took place at the Porcupine mine, near Timmins, one of the largest gold mines in Canada. The worker was employed by Miller Paving, operating as Miller Paving Northern.

The project involved a 3 t sand hopper that was being used to direct sand into old mine voids located at the site.

At the time of the incident, the hopper was positioned above a drilled rock hole. The sand was not moving freely inside the hopper and the worker used an air lancer to facilitate sand movement. The worker was using the air lancer from ground level when a sudden shift of sand within the hopper occurred and the hopper began to tip over. The worker, who was near the hopper, attempted to run clear of it but the hopper and the sand fell on the worker. The superviser and co-workers managed to free the worker, who sustained injuries, according to the bulletin.

A subsequent Ministry of Labour inspection revealed that the hopper was not built to any engineering specification that would ensure stability and prevent tipping without the use of a ballast. There were no records of supporting specifications. The hopper support frame was rectangular and did not provide complete support for the hopper in one plane of motion, and therefore shift of the material in the hopper could affect stability.                        

Goldcorp and Miller both pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Specifically, they pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the hopper was adequately braced to prevent any movement that may affect its stability or cause its failure or collapse.

The court also imposed a 25% 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.