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Essar Steel Algoma fined $250,000 for three OHSA violations

Incidents involved burns from a molten steel and a fireball, a fall and a falling cart.


May 30, 2013
by PLANT STAFF

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. — Steel manufacturer Essar Steel Algoma Ltd. pleaded guilty and was fined $250,000 for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after workers were injured in three incidents.

The company was fined $150,000 for the first incident, which involved three workers at the steel plant in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. On May 7, 2011, they were preparing to pour liquid steel from a large vessel into a ladle. One worker handled the tilting of the vessel, one was a helper and another monitored the pouring by looking into the 12-foot (3.7 metre) opening at the top.

The provincial court heard that an unexpected reaction occurred during the pouring, causing molten steel and a fireball to be expelled from the vessel. The worker monitoring the pouring suffered extensive burns, the others burns of varying degrees.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that workers were not protected by a shield, screen or similar barrier.

During an incident on Aug. 31 the same year, workers were involved in another incident involving a sheave wheel (pulley wheel) at the top of a blast furnace. A rolling trolley with a hoist was attached to a stationary lifting beam to lift the sheave wheel. A worker pulled on the trolley to move it out of the way of the work, but as the trolley moved the worker fell off the beam and was injured.

A subsequent investigation found stoppers on the beam were worn and failed to protect the worker from the rolling trolley. The company was fined $50,000.

A third incident occurred at the plant on April 18, 2012, when workers used a forklift to raise a 350 lb. (158.8 kg) cart from the main floor to the mezzanine level. During the lift, the cart fell from the forks and struck a worker on the head, causing injuries.

The investigation found the cart was lifted in a way that endangered the safety of a worker. The fine was $50,000.

The court also imposed a 25% 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.