Resolute Forest Products fined $500,000 after electrician killed at Ontario sawmill
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A lumber producer has been fined $500,000 after a worker in Ontario was killed while performing maintenance on a machine that was inadequately locked out.
On March 28, 2022, an industrial electrician was attempting to repair a photo-eye on a debarking machine at the Ignace Sawmill in Ignace, Ont. It is owned by Montreal-based Resolute FP Canada Inc.
Before the electrician attempted the repair, they worked with a maintenance team to lock out the machine according to the company’s written lockout procedure. Workers also attempted to verify that isolation and de-energization of the machine had been successful, in accordance with the procedure.
The worker then began performing maintenance and repairs, believing the machine was properly locked out. While working alone, the worker positioned themself in a gap between the machine’s infeed roller gears. The rollers slowly and unexpectedly moved, trapping and fatally injuring the worker.
A Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development investigation determined that the company’s written lockout procedure was inadequate to protect the worker from the hazard of the infeed rollers and drive gears moving while they were working on the machine. Not all sources of energy were identified and controlled and the verification procedure did not test all sources of hazardous energy.
As such, Resolute FP Canada Inc. failed, as an employer, to ensure that the machine’s control switches or other control mechanisms were locked out as required by section 76(a) of Ontario Regulation 851, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Following a guilty plea, Resolute FP Canada Inc. was fined $500,000. 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.