24 times more arsenic than the norm in the air

Industrial accident: The Horne Foundry is held responsible by the CNESST

The Commission for Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work (CNESST) concluded in an investigative report released Tuesday that the Horne Foundry “underestimated the risks associated with contaminants and spills,” which led to the serious poisoning of a worker in April 2023 workers.

• Also read: Snow has accumulated in the Horne Foundry: the contamination would be more serious

• Also read: Two Horne Foundry employees were victims of a serious industrial accident

The accident, which occurred during a tank cleaning, left a subcontractor worker buried in toxic dust and without adequate protection, resulting in severe poisoning.

According to the report, the worker in question claims that he was not properly informed by Horne Foundry or his employer, SXB Environnement, about the cleaning procedures to be followed or about the toxicity of the material with which he worked.

The toxicological report found high levels of arsenic, copper, lead and zinc as well as a “significant exceedance of the toxic limit value for arsenic” in the employee’s blood after inhaling dust.

At the request of the CNESST, Fonderie Horne has modified its procedures in accordance with the required standards. The Rouyn-Noranda-based foundry reiterated that it “takes very seriously the findings of the investigation report” from the CNESST and that an internal investigation has made it possible to identify elements that have been corrected in its safety measures.

The smelter, part of Glencore's Quebec copper sector, has come into the public eye in recent years due to revelations about its toxic fumes. This led to the government tightening standards and ordering the creation of a buffer zone around the factory, forcing the relocation of around 200 people.

However, a report released last Friday showed that snow contaminated with arsenic, cadmium, nickel and lead was found well outside the buffer zone last winter.