March 19, 2018
Walker Aggregates Inc., a Walker Industries sand and gravel company with 15 quarries in southwestern Ontario, entered a plea of guilty and was fined $131,000 ($170,000 Canadian) after an employee was killed while clearing ice from a conveyor at its Severn Quarry in Orillia in February 2017, Materials Management & Distribution reports. The court also imposed a 25-percent victim fine surcharge to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime as required by the Provincial Offences Act.
On Feb. 6, 2017, workers at Severn Quarry were ensuring that each piece of machinery and equipment was operating before starting up production after a six-week winter shutdown. This included removing ice buildup on two conveyors.
Two workers opened the wire mesh gates that restricted access to the tension pulley and were clearing the ice while the conveyor and pulley were moving. A metal bar being used by one worker got caught by the pinch point formed between the conveyor and the steel drum of the pulley and was pulled in. The worker holding the bar was pulled in with it, suffering fatal head injuries, and 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. It was also determined that it was not necessary to run the conveyor during this task, nor had any precautions been taken to prevent the worker from coming into contact with the conveyor’s moving parts.
These were offenses under section 196(6) of the Mining Regulations, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and an offense under section 66(1) of the act.