First Nickel guilty of 6 charges, Taurus not guilty, Sudbury judge rules
Judge sentences First Nickel to $1.3 million fine
First Nickel has been found guilty of six charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, while Taurus Drilling has been found not guilty of four charges.
The verdict came down in a Sudbury courtroom Tuesday morning. The judge sentenced First Nickel to a fine of $1.3 million.
Both had been originally charged with a total of 12 counts under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. First Nickel had been charged with eight charges, while Taurus had been charged with four. Two charges against First Nickel were dropped.
The case is related to the deaths of Marc Methe and Norm Bisaillon. Both men were working as contract workers for Taurus Drilling when they were killed by a fall of ground at Lockerby Mine in 2014.
First Nickel owned the mine at the time. The company has since gone into receivership and was not being represented in court.
During the reading of his verdict, Judge David Stone told the court the deaths of Methe and Bisaillon were "completely preventable."
Stone said investigators encountered a "very challenging and inherently dangerous workplace, with many shortcomings." He also said under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, "employers have a responsibility to ensure a reasonably safe workplace."
A charge against Taurus that said the company failed "to give notice in writing when a fuse, detonator or explosive is found defective' was dropped. First Nickel was also charged with the same count and found guilty.
Taurus was found not guilty of several charges including developing a written program to timely communicate workers and supervisors on ground stability, failing before "work has begun in a workplace to examine ground conditions for dangers and hazards," and failing to "provide illumination adequate to allow workers to visually assess ground conditions."
First Nickel was also charged with those counts and found guilty of all of those charges.
11 witnesses testified
Taurus and First Nickel were both found not guilty of failing "to use reasonable efforts to determine cause of a misfiring of explosives and take preventative action."
First Nickel was found guilty of failing to keep a mine free from accumulation or flow of water, failing to "develop a quality control program for work in [an] underground mine to ensure ground support systems … are properly installed and remain effective," and for a supervisor failing "to make and sign a record … where potential or actual danger to health and safety of a worker not remedied."
During the trial, 11 witnesses testified, including a Ministry of Labour inspector, several workers and the owner of Taurus Drilling.
With files from Robin De Angelis