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Essar Steel Algoma issued safety fines

Keywords: Tags  steel, Essar Steel Algoma, Sault Ste. Marie facility, Ontario plant, safety fines, workplace safety, Ontario Ministry of Labour, Occupational Health and Safety Act Catherine Ngai

TORONTO — Essar Steel Algoma Inc. has been fined Canadian $250,000 ($242,596) by Ontario’s Ministry of Labour.

The fine was issued for alleged safety violations after a number of workers were injured at its steelmaking facility in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, during three separate incidents in 2011 and 2012.

In May of 2011, three workers pouring liquid steel from a vessel into a ladle at Essar’s facility in Sault Ste. Marie suffered burns of varying degrees when an unexpected reaction occurred, causing molten steel and a fireball to be expelled from the vessel, the government body said.

A ministry investigation found that workers at risk of exposure to the molten metal weren’t protected by a shield, screen or similar barrier.

In a separate incident in August 2011, employees at the facility were working to replace a pulley wheel at the top of a blast furnace when a worker was struck and injured by a rolling trolley used to hoist a stationary lifting beam. Stoppers on the beam were worn and failed to protect the worker from the trolley, the ministry said.

A third incident occurred in April 2012, when workers used a forklift to raise a 350-pound cart from the main floor of the facility to the mezzanine. That cart fell from the forks and struck a worker in the head, causing injuries. An investigation showed that the cart was lifted in a way that "endangered the safety of a worker," the agency said.

Essar pleaded guilty to three violations of Canada’s Occupational Health and Safety Act. It was fined C$150,000 ($145,558) for the first incident and C$50,000 ($48,519) for each of the others.

A spokeswoman for the Sault Ste. Marie-based company didn’t respondent to requests for comment.

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