Paul Rochette, 36, dies in Vale Sudbury smelter incident

Greater Sudbury's Paul Rochette has been identified by Sudbury police as the worker who died on Sunday at Vale's smelter in Copper Cliff.
Greater Sudbury's Paul Rochette was killed at Vale's Copper Cliff smelter, near Sudbury, Ont. on Sunday (Facebook)

Greater Sudbury's Paul Rochette has been identified by Sudbury police as the worker who died on Sunday at Vale's smelter in Copper Cliff.

The second worker, who has not been named, is recuperating in hospital.

Many questions remain as investigators delve into the tragedy at Vale's Copper Cliff smelter in Sudbury.

A 36 year-old worker and a 28 year-old worker were injured Sunday evening, in an area where a machine crushes hardened metal.

One of the unknowns is how long the two men lay injured and dying before a superintendent found them.

The vice president of U.K. and Ontario operations said he's not sure either, but said a superintendent found them soon after the start of the shift.

Kelly Strong, the vice-president of Vale's Ontario operations says the two workers were well-trained and highly skilled millwrights. (Hugo Duchaine/Radio-Canada)

Kelly Strong said one worker died of severe head trauma while the other got a concussion and facial lacerations.

How they were hurt is yet to be determined.

Strong said he's not aware of any safety issues in this area and both men were well-trained

“We believe that there was adequate training for both of these individuals and they had many years of experience working in this kind of facility and that type of setting,” he said.

Fourth death in 3 years

United Steelworkers Local 6500 president Rick Bertrand said he believes a broken piece of machinery jammed up a machine, and when it let go, so did a lot of built-up pressure.

United Steelworkers Local 6500 president Rick Bertrand. (CBC)

The union will do its own investigation — maybe with the company, maybe not — Bertrand added.

“We have our health and safety teams that are on the floor … ensuring we'll be prepared and ready for an investigation. At this point there's no decision on whether this will be joint or not,” he said.

The Ministry of Labour and Sudbury police are also investigating the incident.

“I can't say how sad we are today to lose another member. You know, this is our fourth member in less than three years that we just lost,” Bertrand said.

Bertrand again raised the issue of the ongoing mines safety review and opened the door to renewing a push for an inquiry if the union isn't satisfied with the review.


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