Company fined $70,000 after worker 'critically injured by explosion at Sudbury operations

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Noront Steel was fined $70,000 Monday after a worker was badly injured when a steel drum exploded at its operations in the Walden Industrial Park.

Justice of the Peace Sharon K. Ashick fined the company after it pleaded guilty in provincial offences court in Sudbury.

The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge against Noront Steel as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

Noront Steel (1981) Limited operates a steel fabrication facility at the Walden Industrial Park.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Labour, when Noront produces small steel objects, it stores and ships them in 45-gallon steel drums. The drums were obtained used from other facilities.

“Typically the top would be cut off at Noront using an oxy-acetylene torch, and holes would be cut in the bottom of the barrel for drainage purposes,” the ministry said in a release. “The barrels would be worked on in the condition they were received; they were not cleaned out first.”

However, on Auh. 24, 2018, a worker was cutting drainage holes into a drum with a torch when the barrel exploded into flames. The worker received “critical injuries,” the ministry said.

An investigation by the Centre for Forensic Sciences determined the barrel the worker was dealing with contained flammable substances, including acetone, methyl ethyl ketone and toluene.

A section of the Industrial Establishments Regulation requires that “… where alternations are to be made on a drum, tank … or other container … (it) shall be drained and cleaned or otherwise rendered free from any explosive, flammable or harmful substance.”

In this case, “the barrel that exploded had not been rendered free from explosive and flammable substances before being provided to the worker for cutting. The contents of the barrel were not communicated to the worker and the label on the barrel indicated its contents were a substance that was not combustible.”

sud.editorial@sunmedia.ca
Twitter: @SudburyStar

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