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Diavik fined $150,000 after worker blinded in 2020 accident

A file photo of the Yellowknife Courthouse. Luisa Esteban/ Cabin Radio.
A file photo of the Yellowknife courthouse. Luisa Esteban/Cabin Radio

Representatives of the Diavik diamond mine have pleaded guilty to violating the Mine Health and Safety Act after a 2020 accident resulted in life-altering injuries for an employee.

On Monday, a Yellowknife judge ordered the company to pay $150,000 to the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) plus a $22,500 victim fine surcharge.

As first reported by the CBC, 50-year-old Steve Houle was using an excavator to pick up rock fragments at a blast site when a slab of rock fell onto the cab, causing multiple injuries and trapping him for more than four hours.

He lost a toe and his vision in both eyes.



The WSCC initially laid nine charges against Diavik as well as the shift supervisor, mine manager and blast supervisor. Eght of those charges were later withdrawn as part of a plea agreement.

The NWT mine admitted guilt on the ninth charge, that it “failed to take every reasonable measure and precaution to protect the health and safety of employees.”

Diavik is said to have updated its training protocol regarding blast sites since the incident.