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Contractor fined $65K for worker injury during paper mill demolition


November 29, 2019
By P&PC Staff

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A contracting company has been fined $65,000 for a worker injury during a demolition of the former Norampac kraft paper mill in Red Rock, Ontario two years ago.

1481410 Ontario Limited, also known as SL Marketing, pleaded guilty to the offence, and was fined in Ontario provincial offences court. In addition, the company must also pay a 25 per cent surcharge to a provincial fund that assists victims of crime.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that while conducting a demolition operation/construction project at the former kraft paper mill in November 2017, workers drilled holes into columns in three concrete structures on site.

Explosives were inserted into those holes, and they were detonated as test blasts. The test blasts were performed under the direction of a supervisor.

The blasts did not bring the structures down, and the site was then left for several days to settle.

On November 14, 2017, an excavator with an attached pulverizer was brought to the site. The operator was instructed to “soften” one of the structure’s walls using the pulverizer. The intention was that after the walls had been softened, a further blast would be set off to bring the structure down.

The worker began softening the walls, and the approximately 65-foot concrete structure collapsed on top of the excavator. The worker was trapped in the excavator’s cab for several hours, buried under rubble. He was later freed, taken to hospital and suffered a non-life-threatening injury.

The Ministry of Labour found that even though the company had trained its workers in how to perform demolition work, a second assessment had not been performed following the initial test blast to determine the building’s structural integrity as required by the procedures.

Norampac shuttered the linerboard mill in 2006, and the property was purchased by Riversedge Developments, a brownfield redeveloper, in 2014. Five years later, the company is still in the process of cleaning up the site, and the town of Red Rock announced this month that it is taking Riversedge to court over the delayed cleanup and unpaid back taxes.