Canadian labour body sues Rio Tinto over injured worker

A view of an open pit at the Diavik Diamond…

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Canadian workers compensation body the WSCC has filed four criminal charges against Rio Tinto’s Diavik Diamond Mine after a worker was seriously injured in an accident.

The Diavik mine, located in the North Slave Region of Canada’s Northwest Territories, has been charged by the WSCC with multiple counts of violations of the Mine Health and Safety Act. The allegations include a failure to implement and maintain safe work practices and failure to take every reasonable measure to protect the health and safety of its employees, as well as other offences, the WSCC said in a statement on Friday.

The charges were filed following an investigation by WSCC safety officers, launched after an incident at the mine on 26 January 2023, which resulted in a “serious worker injury”, the commission said but gave no further details.

The first court date is set for 19 March and will be held in Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories.

Rio Tinto told Reuters on Monday that the Diavik mine took the health and safety of its employees very seriously. It declined to comment further due to the criminal charges.

Two weeks ago, a plane carrying workers to the Diavik mine crashed, killing two flight crew and four Rio Tinto employees.

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By GlobalData

Rio Tinto chief executive Jakob Stausholm said of the tragedy: “We are feeling numb with the devastating news that we have lost dear friends and colleagues. I extend our deepest sympathy to the families, friends and loved ones of those who have been affected by this tragedy.”

He added that the company will be working “closely with authorities over the coming days, weeks and months to support their efforts to understand the full facts of what has happened.”

In 2022, Rio Tinto reported zero fatalities and had an All Injury Frequency Rate – the number of all injuries per 2,000,000 hours worked – of 0.40, equal to that of the previous year. However, the company’s annual report said that in 2022, the number of potentially fatal incidents rose to 19 compared with 16 in 2021.

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