A WorkSafeBC report has found Rio Tinto failed to control access to the work zone resulting in a serious injury occurring.
The provincial safety organization investigated following an incident at the Kitimat smelter on June 6 that left one person in critical condition. According to the report, a worker was injured during the offloading of anodes that were to be stored at the decommissioned pot line buildings. As part of their investigation, WorkSafeBC found that straps had loosened or adjusted during handling of the anode bundles.
An anode is a large piece of carbon that is used in the production process of aluminum.
The report makes a number of recommendations and found that there was inadequate control of access to the work zone allowing an unauthorized worker to enter the zone resulting in serious injury. It further found that the employer failed to ensure inspections were made of the anode unloading work method and practice to prevent unsafe work practices.
Among the findings included evidence that seat belt alarm systems had been bypassed and that the anode unloading operation at the Building 182 entrance was not planned or maintained in an acceptable manner.
WorkSafeBC determined that there are grounds to impose an administrative penalty and/or OHS citation. If they do decide to take further enforcement more information will be provided at that time.
According to a Rio Tinto spokesperson in a June 17 email the person is recovering from surgery and the company remains in contact with the family.
Rio Tinto plans to put concrete actions in place to respond to the recommendations made by WorkSafeBC once their own investigation concludes.