An­other ex­posed to cyanide

Wife of de­ceased mine worker feels De­tour didn’t learn les­son from her fam­ily’s tragedy.

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - FRONT PAGE - EMMA MELDRUM

COCHRANE - The wife of a De­tour Gold em­ployee who died from liq­uid cyanide ex­po­sure at work is speak­ing out af­ter an­other em­ployee was re­cently hos­pi­tal­ized due to con­tact with the same chem­i­cal.

De­nis Mil­lette died in June 2015 while re­pair­ing a ma­chine leak­ing liq­uid cyanide, and his em­ployer pled guilty to crim­i­nal neg­li­gence at the end of Au­gust.

Since then, his wife Sherry Mil­lette has dis­cov­ered that an­other em­ployee was ex­posed to the poi­sonous liq­uid.

“Cyanide has been used in min­ing for over a cen­tury,” said Mil­lette, com­mu­ni­cat­ing with The Daily Press via so­cial me­dia on Tues­day. “There are safety mea­sures that should be sec­ond na­ture to mines. And for this to hap­pen is just so (ap­palling).”

The Min­istry of Labour con­firmed that a worker was ex­posed to liq­uid cyanide while load­ing an iso­tainer of cyanide and was taken to hos­pi­tal. A spokes­woman couldn’t con­firm the date of the in­ci­dent, but said the min­istry was no­ti­fied on Aug. 20.

“Our in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing,” wrote the spokes­woman in an email. “No or­ders or writ­ten re­quire­ments were is­sued. Ver­bal re­quire­ments for doc­u­ments were made and ob­tained on (Aug. 21).”

The sec­ond in­ci­dent doesn’t sit well with Mil­lette.

“When I heard about the other em­ployee, I pushed it aside, telling my­self it was just a ru­mour,” she said. Mil­lette was awarded $805,333 based on a cal­cu­la­tion of lost earn­ings. She said De­tour Gold could have han­dled the sit­u­a­tion so much bet­ter.

“I never felt that they thought of De­nis as a per­son and that is what hurts the most,” she said.

“They can’t do any­thing to fully sat­isfy me. They failed mis­er­ably at keep­ing my hus­band safe.”

Mil­lette said she has spo­ken to the com­pany pres­i­dent, Paul Martin, and would like to meet with him again.

“I will let him know he could have han­dled the case bet­ter.

“As for an apol­ogy, I don’t feel as though I got a sin­cere one. I know they are sorry they had to go to court, but that is about it,” she said.

De­nis Mil­lette had been work­ing at De­tour Gold’s Cochrane mill for just over two months when he was asked to pro­vide a tem­po­rary fix for a ma­chine that had been leak­ing.

The com­pany even­tu­ally pled guilty to one charge, with 13 oth­ers be­ing dropped by the Crown.

a state­ment is­sued on sept. 5 by martin re­it­er­ated his sad­ness “for the pain this has caused the fam­ily.”

de­tour Gold did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment on tues­day re­gard­ing the lat­est in­ci­dent in­volv­ing cyanide.

the min­istry of labour spokes­woman said it is con­tin­u­ing its in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

she ex­plained when an in­ci­dent is re­ported, an in­spec­tor is sent to de­ter­mine the cause and pre­ven­ta­tive ac­tions. Once the in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­port is com­plete, a lawyer will de­cide whether there is enough ev­i­dence to lay charges un­der the Oc­cu­pa­tional health and safety act.

mil­lette said she was thank­ful for the work of the On­tario provin­cial po­lice in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into her hus­band’s death, par­tic­u­larly that of of­fi­cer dave Gard­ner.

“(he) was there for me ev­ery step of the way and made it bear­able. i wouldn’t have made it through it with­out dave,” she said.

she was also grate­ful for dale Cox, the Crown at­tor­ney who han­dled the case. the sen­tenc­ing and plea took place in Cochrane on aug. 30 and 31.

Sub­mit­ted PHOTO

De­nis Mil­lette, pic­tured here with his dogs, died in June 2015 af­ter be­ing ex­posed to liq­uid cyanide at De­tour Gold. His wife, Sherry Mil­lette, is speak­ing out af­ter an­other worker was re­cently hos­pi­tal­ized due to cyanide ex­po­sure.

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