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Vale worker was killed by pin released at high pressure: Steelworkers

By: Jonathan Migneault - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Apr 07, 2014 - 12:29 PM |

Industrial mechanic is fourth killed on the job in three years

According to early information, a 36-year-old mechanic at Vale's Copper Cliff smelter was killed when a pin from a crusher broke off  and was released under high pressure, said Rick Bertrand, president of United Steelworkers Local 6500.

Bertrand said he was devastated when he heard about the fatal accident that also injured a 28-year-old industrial mechanic at the smelter.

“It's just unbelievable to get a phone call again,” he said. “This is four fatalities in less than three years.”

The United Steelworkers will investigate the incident, and Bertrand said he hopes they can find answers to ensure future fatalities do not occur. He said the union has not yet decided if it will conduct its own investigation, or collaborate with Vale on their own investigation.

Following the deaths of Jordan Fram and Jason Chenier in 2011, Vale and the Steelworkers conducted their own investigations into the run of muck that claimed the workers lives at Stobie Mine.

This recent fatal incident happened days after public consultations for the Ministry of Labour's review into mining health and safety concluded in Sudbury.
Bertrand said the fatal incident Sunday evening highlights the importance of the review.

“We've been telling people we need this review,” he said. “Whether it's in the mines or the smelters, or our mills, or our refineries, we need to make sure everyone goes home at the end of the day.”

The United Steelworkers had pushed for an inquiry, rather than a review at the early stages, because it would have had a stronger mandate to change legislation and collect testimony from stakeholders.

But Bertrand said the United Steelworkers will reserve judgment until the review is completed.

“We'll see at the end of this if this review was the way to go,” he said.
Jonathan Migneault

Jonathan Migneault

Staff Writer


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