January 29, 2021
Precious metals extraction and recovery firm Cobalt Mining pleaded guilty a provincial offences court in Ontario for violations of safety regulations after a worker was injured by a piece of machinery at one of its facilities, according to a court bulletin recently published by the Ontario Ministry of Labour. The company faces a fine of CAD$75,000, or about $58,700.
A worker at the company’s McAlpine Mill custom feed milling operation near Cobalt, ON was critically injured in a conveying system on Feb. 7, 2019. The worker was assigned to duties in the facility’s crushing house. A millwright asked the worker to apply belt dressing on a slipping conveyor belt before the incident occurred.
“The worker was not given specific instructions on how to complete this task and was not directed to a designated location where the spray could be applied in a safe manner while the belt was running,” the court bulletin stated. Cobalt Mining did not equip the conveying equipment with a guard to block access to a pinch point.
At the time of the injury, the worker was standing on a small mound of loose gravel when they lost their footing and slipped into the running belt, becoming trapped between the belt and the frame of the conveyor, the Ministry of Labor said. The worker was taken to an area hospital for treatment.
Cobalt Mining pleaded guilty to failing to implement a safe process to apply belt dressing while the conveying equipment was in operation, a requirement under subjection 196(2) of the Mines and Mining Plants Regulation (Regulation 854). The company also violated paragraph 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
In addition to the fine, the company was also ordered to pay a 25% victim fine surcharge, a requirement by the Provincial Offences Act to provide funding for victims of crime.
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