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Resolute fined $500K for worker's death in northwestern Ontario

ONTARIO (From news reports) -- A Montreal-based lumber producer has been fined $500,000 for the 2022 death of an employee in northwestern Ontario who was killed while trying to repair machinery.

Resolute FP Canada Inc., a producer of wood, pulp, tissue and paper products, operates the Ignace Sawmill. On March 28, 2022, an industrial electrician was attempting to repair a photo-eye on a debarking machine.

"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," the Ministry of Labour said in a news release.

"Workers also attempted to verify that isolation and de-energization of the machine had been successful, in accordance with the procedure."

However, it emerged that the company's lockout procedure was inadequate and failed to identify all sources of power. As the worker began to make the repairs, he positioned himself in a gap between the machine's infeed roller gears.

"The rollers slowly and unexpectedly moved, trapping and fatally injuring the worker," the release said.

An investigation determined 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," the ministry said.

Resolute FP Canada Inc. was found guilty of failing, as an employer, to ensure the machine's control switches or other control mechanisms were locked out.

The company was convicted Nov. 28 in provincial offences court in Dryden. In addition to the $500,000, the company must also pay 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.


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