Ontario: Steel Company to Pay for Worker Casualty

A Canadian steel manufacturer has been fined for a violation that led to the accidental death of one of its employees.

Algoma Steel Inc. (ASI), based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, will be required to pay $313,000 (U.S. $391,000 ) in fines imposed by the Ontario Court of Justice. In addition, the court imposed a 25 percent victim fine surcharge, which will be credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

On April 26, 2004, Robert Brzezinski, a 43-year-old electrical engineer, fell 35 feet down an open chute while tracing overhead wire.

An investigation by the Ontario Ministry of Labor found that guardrails protected the four sides of the chute's opening, but the gate had been open on the fourth side at the time of the fatal incident.

ASI pleaded guilty to failing to provide a guardrail around the perimeter of the chute opening, as it is required by Ontario law.

ASI was previously convicted for two violations, but no fatalities resulted from those two incidents.

According to attorneys for ASI, the chute has been covered by a grate.

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