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Thursday, June 13, 2024
Niagara Falls business fined $170,000 for death of worker

A Niagara Falls business, Walker Aggregates Inc., has been fined $170,000 for the 2017 death of a worker.

The worker was killed after being pulled into moving machinery at Severn quarry in Orillia.

The incident occurred on Feb. 6, 2017, while workers were preparing machinery to go back into production after a six-week winter shutdown.

The start-up process involved ensuring each piece of equipment, including conveyors, was operating, according to a court bulletin. Part of that involved removing the ice buildup on the two conveyors.

The incident occurred while workers were clearing ice from the tension pulley. Two of the workers had opened the wire mesh gates which restricted access to the pulley, while the others stood beside the conveyor.

The conveyor was running at the time and there was no interlocking device in place. During this time, a metal bar being used by one of the workers was caught by the pinch point formed between the conveyor and the steel drum of the pulley and as the conveyor moved. The bar and the worker were both pulled into the machine.

The worker suffered fatal head injuries as a result and was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency services.

Walker Aggregates, which produces limestone, sand and gravel from 15 quarries in southwestern Ontario, was convicted March 12 in an Orillia courtroom by Justice of the Peace Neil Burgess and Crown counsel Judy L. Chan.

According to the province, 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.”

An investigation by the Ministry of Labour determined the conveyor did not meet these requirements, as the machine was not shut down and it was not necessary to be running the conveyor and proper precautions had not been taken to prevent the worker from coming into contact with the conveyor's moving parts.

The court also imposed a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge goes into a government fund to assist victims of crime.

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