Follow a detailed investigation into an equipment malfunction that seriously injured an employee, authorities have charged a Canadian minerals company with violating maintenance best practices and creating an unsafe work environment.

Newfoundland-based Atlantic Minerals Ltd. has had to answer some tough questions dating back to a June 2011 industrial accident that crushed an employee's hand and ultimately resulted in the surgical amputation of one finger. Follow a detailed investigation into the equipment malfunction that preceded the event, authorities have charged the company with violating maintenance best practices and creating an unsafe work environment.

According to the Western Star, the incident occurred when a concrete block machine activated unexpectedly and trapped the victim's hand. Although this was an isolated event, regulators identified a number of concerning worksite trends that may have heightened operational risk.

In accordance with Occupational Health and Safety Act Regulations, the company has been charged with five separate safety violations. Investigators found that maintenance crews had been operating out of alignment with manufacturer recommendations, and that management failed to preserve proper access controls to keep workers out of harm's way in the event of an unexpected machine startup.

Atlantic Minerals has declined to comment ahead of trial dates set for the end of the month. Legal authorities and company stakeholders will be anxiously awaiting indications of what may have prevented the company from employing baseline precautions - if not predictive maintenance best practices.