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Ministry charges mining company over 2015 employee death

Glencore employee Richard Pigeau killed in equipment accident


(Canadian OH&S News) — Toronto-based mining company Glencore Canada Corporation is facing multiple charges under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, over a workplace fatality that took place in Sudbury a year ago.

Glencore employee Richard Pigeau, 54, was killed when a piece of machinery struck him at the Nickel Rim South Mine on Oct. 20, 2015. Pigeau left behind two daughters, their mother, his current partner and two grandchildren, according to his obituary on Sudbury.com.

Janet Deline, a spokesperson for the provincial Ministry of Labour (MOL), said that Glencore was facing five charges that the Ministry had laid on Oct. 14. “Two charges on the same date were also laid against an individual. This individual was apparently a supervisor,” she added, identifying the supervisor’s name as Steven Holmik.

According to information from the MOL, Glencore has been charged with the following violations of the Act: interfering with, disturbing and/or altering objects at the scene of an occupational fatality; failing to protect a worker’s safety through information, instruction and supervision; failing to keep workplace equipment in good condition; failing to make sure that the measures in Regulation 854, R.R.O. 1990 were carried out in the workplace; and failing to take every reasonable precaution to protect an employee.

As Pigeau’s supervisor, Holmik is facing a charge of failing to take every reasonable precaution to protect an employee; as his colleague, Holmik has been charged with failing to work in a way that did not endanger any co-workers, according to the MOL.

Glencore said in an e-mailed statement that the company was reviewing the MOL’s charges, but could add little about the case during the pending litigation.

“As we review the legal aspects of this matter, our primary focus remains on the health and safety of our people and doing everything we can to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring,” the company said. “We conducted an investigation jointly with union officials with a goal of learning from this fatality and have implemented the resulting action items, as well as engaged our workforce in a review of the incident as part of our continuous safety dialogue.

“The loss of Mr. Pigeau continues to be painful for everyone who knew him and something we continue to take very seriously.”

Prior to the seven charges that the MOL laid on Oct. 14, Glencore had already been facing two charges related to the Ministry’s investigation of the incident. On June 22, the MOL charged the corporation with hindering, obstructing and/or interfering with an oh&s inspector executing a warrant and failing to furnish all necessary means to assist an inspector with a search, investigation, examination or inquiry.

“We have the first court appearance in this matter taking place on December 9, in Sudbury,” said Deline, referring to the more recent charges.

Founded in 1922, Glencore Canada operates three underground mines in the Sudbury area, extracting nickel and copper. It owns other mines in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Chile as well.