• Mountainside Quarries Group Inc. v. Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Petroleum Resources

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    Decision Date: June 4, 2021

    Panel: David Bird

    Keywords: Mines Act – ss. 36.1(3), 36.6; Administrative Penalties (Mines) Regulation – s. 10; contravention; administrative penalty; consent order

    Mountainside Quarries Group Inc. (the “Appellant”) appealed an administrative penalty issued on July 16, 2020, by the Acting Director, Health and Safety Specialists, Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Petroleum Resources, who was acting as the Chief Inspector of Mines (the “Chief Inspector”).

    In June 2018, a worker employed by the Appellant was found dead at a gravel quarry operated by the Appellant. Based on evidence at the work site, it appeared that the worker died after being struck by a rock ejected from heavy machinery that crushed rock, when he was nearby to refuel the machinery.

    After giving the Appellant an opportunity to be heard, the Chief Inspector concluded that the Appellant’s mine manager had failed to meet the requirements in two sections of the Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines, contrary to section 36.1(3) of the Mines Act. Specifically, the mine manager failed to: ensure that the worker was adequately trained to do his job, and had received thorough orientation and basic instruction in safe work practices; and, maintain a record of all training that workers and supervisors have received, and make that record available to an inspector upon request. The Chief Inspector levied an administrative penalty of $47,500 against the Appellant for the two contraventions, pursuant to section 36.6 of the Mines Act.

    The Appellant appealed the Chief Inspector’s decision to the Board, arguing that the mine manager had adequately trained the worker to do his job, and the record of training was adequate. The Appellant asked the Board to “quash” the penalty, or alternatively, to reduce the penalty to reflect mitigation factors that the Appellant said should have been considered.

    Before the appeal was heard by the Board, the parties negotiated an agreement to resolve the appeal. By consent of the parties, the Board ordered the Appellant to pay a reduced penalty of $38,475.

    Accordingly, the appeal was allowed, in part.