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Mining contractor fined after worker injured in Sudbury mine in 2019

DMC Mining Service docked $120,000 after contractor hit by falling rock at Copper Cliff South Mine
Copper Cliff South Mining (Wikipedia)

DMC Mining Service, a Vaughan-headquartered mining services company, was fined $120,000 stemming from a 2019 underground accident where a contractor was critically injured after being hit by falling rock at Vale's Copper Cliff South Mine Project in Sudbury.

The hearing was held in Provincial Offences Court in Sudbury on Sept. 13.

Justice of the Peace Lori-Ann Toulouse also imposed a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge under the Provincial Offences Act, which is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

According to a court bulletin on the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development website, on Aug. 7, 2019, DMC had been contracted by Vale for raise mining work. Raise mining involves creating a vertical or inclined opening in a mine driven upward from one level to connect with another level.

The contractor, employed by DMC Mining Service, was performing work in the mine inside a return air raise, which is a vertical shaft.

The injured worker and a co-worker were on a raise climber drill platform where they were drilling and blasting rock to advance the raise upwards.

The process also involved scaling loose rock from the area being drilled. While scaling, a loose rock fell from another area and made contact with the injured worker. The drilling was done in close proximity to significant structures.

The provincial court bulletin said it's likely that vibrations from drilling adjacent to significant structures contributed to the rock falling unexpectedly. It was a reasonable precaution to ensure drilling was not done adjacent to significant structures.

Section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the “Act”) states that an employer must take all precautions reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.

Accordingly, by failing to ensure drilling was not completed adjacent to significant structures, the defendant breached section 25(2)(h) of the Act.

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