Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Westario Power Inc., a Walkerton power distribution company, was fined $110,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was killed.

On September 21, 2010, there was a severe thunderstorm in the Port Elgin area and the power went out at the company’s Port Elgin substation. Workers went to the substation to restore power. They attempted to de-energize its equipment so that they could replace a damaged insulator. However, some of the equipment was still energized when a worker started replacing the insulator. The worker came into contact with the energized equipment and was electrocuted.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the substation did not have a current single line diagram to assist workers in developing a work plan, identifying hazards and fully de-energizing the equipment. As a consequence, the workers did not have the information they needed to perform their work in a safe manner.

Westario Power Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to provide the information, instruction and supervision required to protect the health and safety of a worker.

The fine was imposed by Justice George Brophy. 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:

Westario Power Inc. was found guilty of  a contravention of section 25, sub-section 2(a) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“An employer shall,

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

All employees need a set of SOPs to properly be made aware of all the associated hazards so that a company game plan can be set into effect to protect everyone involved in the work. One of the main issues is current information at all times. Here we find Westario Power Inc. not understanding their responsibility to better protect ALL their employees.

I wonder if there ever was a permanent corrective action plan required to ensure this type of accident does not happen again.

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 ‘Electrical Safety Awareness’, ‘Lockout and Tagout’ and ‘Safe 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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