News story

Safety endangerment draws fine

Wednesday, 30 July 2014 ( #678 ) - Fort Francis, ON, Canada
Resolute has pleaded guilty to a charge of safety endangerment - PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK
Resolute has pleaded guilty to a charge of safety endangerment - PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK
Resolute FP Canada Inc has pleaded guilty to a charge of safety endangerment and was fined CAD55,000 (USD51,249) after a worker was injured in a forklift-related incident. The site, a Fort Francis paper mill, produced 110,000 T of specialty papers during 2013.

Three workers were moving a 44,000 lb. (19,800 kg), 22 ft. (6.7m) stack roll to a paper machine on 20 November 2012.

According to court records, the workers used two forklifts to place the stack roll onto a designated cart to bring it into the mill. Once inside, another forklift was hooked to the front of the cart using a sling. One worker operated the forklift pulling the cart while two others walked along the cart to guide it.

To pass through a hallway with a width of about 8 ft. (2.4 m), it was necessary for the two workers to manually push and pull on the stack roll. A concrete wall was on one side and a set of steps and a steel column on the other.

As the cart moved forward, a wheel hit the column, causing the stack roll to move and pinch the arm of one of the workers who had been pushing on the roll. The worker suffered a crushed arm and wrist.

An investigation by Ontario's ministry of labour concluded that the company failed as an employer to ensure that the stack roll was moved in a way with precautions that did not endanger the safety of the worker.

On 25 July, the company pleaded guilty in a hearing at the provincial offences court in Fort Francis. Justice of the Peace Tom Logan imposed the fine under a provision of the province's occupational health and safety act. Also, as required by the provincial offences act, the court imposed a 25% victim fine surcharge to be credited to a special government fund to assist victims of crime.

Resolute FP Canada's parent company, Resolute Forest Products Inc of Montréal, employs 8,400 staff, owns or operates more than 40 pulp and paper mills and wood products facilities in the United States, Canada and South Korea and reports a loss of CAD680 million (USD639 million) on 2013 sales of CAD4.746 billion (USD4.461 billion). The company reported 90 recordable employee injuries during 2013. After a financial restructuring, AbitibiBowater Inc changed its operating name to Resolute Forest Products in late 2011.
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