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Worker dies, $100K in fines ensues from powerline tree-clearing incident


May 13, 2011
By Anthony Capkun

May 12, 2011 – In Ontario, Moose Band Development Corp. was fined $65,000 for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that caused a worker to be killed. Daak Enterprises Ltd. was fined $35,000 in relation to the same incident.

On March 13, 2007, a new powerline was being built for a diamond mine north of Attawapiskat. Moose Band Development had been hired to cut trees to accommodate the new powerline. Moose contracted Daak to provide a feller buncher—a vehicle that cuts and gathers trees. The vehicle was composed of a cab on crawler tracks with a sawing apparatus (feller head) attached to a moveable arm. Daak also provided an operator for the vehicle.

About 30 kilometres outside Moosonee, the feller buncher operator had problems with the vehicle’s saw. A repair crew from Moose went to help. While attempting to fix the vehicle, a member of the repair crew was pinned between the vehicle’s feller head and its tracks. The worker was killed.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found the vehicle’s arm and feller head were never secured in place to prevent movement during the repair. Moose Band Development Corp. and Daak Enterprises Ltd. both pleaded guilty, as employers, to failing to ensure that a blocking system was installed on the feller buncher when it was being repaired.

In addition to the fines, the court imposed a 25% victim fine surcharge, which is credited to a provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.