Blog Post #1266 – Worker’s Propane Burns Result in $150,000 Fine for Alberta Company

Blog Post #1266 – Worker’s Propane Burns Result in $150,000 Fine for Alberta Company

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’ (Aug. 24, 2020)

A worker suffered burns while transferring propane from a tank truck to propane tanks at a private residence on November 21, 2018.

Two workers of Parkland Fuel Corporation of Calgary Alberta were delivering liquid propane to a residence in Chesley, Ontario. One worker was filling the propane tanks while the other observed the pump in the cabinet of the tank truck.

When the worker who was filling the tanks was filling a second one, the physical connection was not done properly and the nozzle blew off the propane tank, spraying liquid propane into the air.

The resulting gas ignited and the worker’s clothing was set on fire. The worker rolled in snow to extinguish the flames and emergency services were called.

The injured worker had started working for the company earlier that month. The worker had received one day of on-line training in the first week of employment, which included safety-related topics such as transportation of dangerous goods and pre-trip inspection for professional drivers. This was the only formal training the worker had received from Parkland.

The worker had not been trained on the Propane Training Institute course for bulk truck delivery, which satisfies the regulatory requirements of the Propane Storage and Handling Code (CAN/CSA – B149.2).  The course covers topics such as the properties and characteristics of propane, sources of ignition, emergency preparedness, and the procedures for safely transferring propane from a bulk truck to a customer’s container.

The worker was not wearing eye protection or adequate gloves at the time of the incident. The worker’s clothing was not fire resistant, and the vest being worn at the time was polyester. The vest and the sweater being worn melted in the fire. Parkland had ordered appropriate personal protective equipment for the worker on November 2, but it had not arrived at the time of the incident.

Workers are required by section 6(1) of Ontario Regulation 211/01 (Propane Storage and Handling) and subsections 3(1) and 38(1) of Ontario Regulation 215/01 (Fuel Industry Certificates) — regulations made under the Technical Standards and Safety Act — to have a certificate or a record of training before operating a propane tank truck or engaging in the process of transferring propane from a truck to a propane tank on customer premises. The training for the injured worker for that certification was scheduled to take place November 23, 2018, two days after the explosion. Parkland had held off on scheduling the training until several newly-hired workers could be trained together.

It is a reasonable precaution for employers to ensure that workers engaged in the transfer of liquid propane wear appropriate personal protective equipment. This includes protective eyewear, gloves and fire-resistant clothing.  Fire-resistant fabric will not melt when exposed to heat and will not serve as a source of ignition from static sparks.

Following a guilty plea, Parkland Fuel Corporation was fined $150,000 in provincial offences court in Owen Sound by Judge Julia A. Morneau; Crown Counsels Wes Wilson and Alessandra Hollands.

The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

Parkland Fuels Corporation was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), section 25, subsection 2(a) which states,

“An employer shall,

(a)  provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker.”

As a certified instructor for the Canadian Propane Training Institute for such courses as propane filling and heaters and torches, I fully understand that all the associated hazards MUST be identified, assessed and controlled before any work is to be done.

Ontario has a strict policy about training but it has been my observation over the past 10+ years of a blog, that Alberta talks a big game on training but has a very poor safety record for enforcement. I can understand why Parkland did not see the immediate need to ensure training. I bet they understand now!

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at info@hrsgroup.com

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

 

 

Dan
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