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Maintenance worker killed, another injured; Algoma fined $ 325,000


Essar Steel Algoma Inc. in Sault Ste Marie, Ont., was fined $300,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) that caused a worker’s death. The company was fined another $25,000 for a different OHSA violation after a worker was injured in a separate incident.

On July 31, 2008, at the company’s steel mill in Sault Ste Marie, a worker was doing routine maintenance on a truck. As the worker was checking the battery, it exploded, splattering liquid in the worker’s face. The worker attempted to use the emergency eyewash fountain, but it was not working.

Essar Steel Algoma Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to maintain an eyewash fountain and deluge shower in good condition and was fined the $25,000.

In a separate incident at the mill on October 30, 2008, three workers were doing a pre-start check on a conveyor system used to pile rocks. The maintenance team believed the system was empty, but toward the end of the check material appeared on the conveyor above one of the workers. The material, weighing over 125 kilograms, fell onto the worker, killing him.

Essar Steel Algoma Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to ensure appropriate overhead guarding was in place to prevent falling material from injuring a worker.

The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Patricia Tennant. In addition to the fines, the court imposed a 25-percent 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.