Nanaimo pulp mill fined $284K in connection with worker’s death in 2016

Nanaimo pulp mill fined $284K in connection with worker's death in 2016

Nanaimo Forest Product's Harmac Pacific mill has been fined following a worker's death in 2016. Credit: Google Maps

Nanaimo Forest Product’s Harmac Pacific mill has been fined following a worker’s death in 2016. Credit: Google Maps

A Nanaimo pulp mill has been fined $284,000 after an investigation the death of a worker there two years ago.

Nanaimo Forest Product’s Harmac Pacific operation was fined $284, 196 at the end of 2017 for what WorkSafeBC described as a high-risk violation.

According to WorkSafeBC, an investigation found Harmac didn’t conduct a risk assessment or develop safe work procedures for the area where Chris Fletcher, 37, fell into the middle of a wood chip pile when a hole formed beneath him in March 2016. He was carried through a conveyor system into a chip bin, sustaining fatal injuries.

WorkSafeBC said the edges of the reclaim pits were not guarded and were not marked to indicate a potential hazard, and workers were regularly required to stand at the edges of the pits as part of their work practices.

“In addition, the conveyors operated automatically with no method of alerting workers, and the hopper had no means of escape when the worker fell in and was covered by wood chips,” a report on the agency’s website said.

The report said the firm’s failure to ensure machinery and equipment were effectively safeguarded to protect workers was a high-risk violation.

“The firm also failed to provide adequate written safe work procedures to prevent injuries to its workers. Further, the firm failed to provide its workers with the information, instruction, and training necessary to ensure their health and safety, a repeated violation,” the report said.

There are nearly 2,000 summary posts on WorkSafeBC’s website. The penalty to Harmac is the eight-largest fine on the list.

Grant Brebber, administration manager with Nanaimo Forest Product, Harmac Pacific division, said procedural changes were implemented immediately after the incident and were in place in May 2016. The changes include remote camera systems that allow workers to monitor areas without leaving their equipment.

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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