Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

111008 Canada Inc., operating as O.D.S. Marine, an Ottawa company specializing in marine construction and engineering and commercial diving, was fined $100,000 yesterday for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was killed.

On October 6, 2009, O.D.S. Marine was doing an underwater video inspection of a dam on the Trent Severn Waterway. A pontoon boat acted as the dive site for the operation. One diver performed the underwater inspection and videotaping while most of the crew remained on the boat. During the inspection, the diver reported that a stop log, a device controlling the water passing through the dam, was not sitting properly. The video relay to the boat showed a large gap under the stop log. The diver reported that water was “ripping” though the gap. The diver was told to get a view in towards the stop log. Soon after, the diver was pulled against the gap under the stop log and trapped there by forces of differential pressure. The diver died of chest compression while trapped.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the position of the boat relative to the direction of water flow allowed the diver’s umbilical cord to be pulled through the gap under the stop log, causing the diver to be pulled and pinned against the stop log. Additionally, once the diver reported that water was “ripping” though the gap under the stop log, the dive should have stopped immediately.

111008 Canada Inc., operating as O.D.S. Marine, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that before the dive began any water flow that was a potential hazard to the diver was identified and controlled to ensure it posed no safety hazard.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Lorraine Watson. In addition to the fine, the court 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:

O.D.S. Marine was found guilty of violating section 54 (2) of the Ontario regulation 629/94, ‘Diving Operations’ which states,

“Each employer and each owner associated with a diving operation and the diving supervisor for the diving operation shall ensure that, before any dive is begun, any water flow that is a potential hazard to a diver,

a) Is identified and described to the diver, and
b) Is lockout-out or controlled in a manner that

i. Is satisfactory to the diver and diving supervisor and
ii. Ensures that the water flow poses no safety hazard to the diver.”

Ontario regulation 629/94 is really new to me. This regulation is not used very often so the probability all three, the owner, employer and supervisor were unaware of the regulation and allowed the diver to get into a dangerous situation is not a stretch of the imagination. As a ‘Water Flow Hazard’, all aspects, including hazards of the dive, have to be recognized, and, if noted to be a hazard, a control must be in place to protect the diver. Too bad O.D.S Marine found out too late!

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

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

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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