Rio Tinto unit charged in Canada for 2010 death

Representatives of Rio Tinto’s Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC), the country’s biggest producer of the steel-making ingredient, appeared in court yesterday as it is facing five charges related to a fatal accident in 2010.

The Canadian Province of Newfoundland and Labrador announced on Thursday that IOC had been charged under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Allegedly the company failed to ensure that adequate fall protection was in place in the March 2010 incident, when two workers tumbled about 23 feet from a work platform that was being used to access spill chains. One of the workers died.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s government is also accusing IOC of inadequate lockout procedures in effect; that equipment was capable of safely performing the functions for which it was intended, and that workers and especially supervisors were made familiar with the hazards likely to be met.

According to IOC’s corporate website, the iron producer employs about 1,900 workers.