Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
Two government ministries in Saskatchewan continued to probe a recent workplace incident in which a worker was injured while performing electrical upgrades at a post-secondary institution in Regina.
On August 13, 2012 an independent contractor was performing an electrical upgrade to the main electrical switchgear at the Wascana campus of the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology. The process involved installing new electrical capacitors for power factor correction, says Richard Murray, Assistant Deputy Minister of property management with Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Central Services (MCS) in Regina. The ministry operates about 720 government buildings throughout the province.
“It is an electrical upgrade that was taking place that had been planned, and they were the primary contractor responsible for performing the upgrade,” Murray notes. He adds that an electrical arc flash was being investigated as a possibility.
The Occupational Health & Safety division of the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety attended. Safety inspectors with the MCS were also on site the day after the incident.
The MCS also brought in a third-party contractor to conduct an independent review, Murray reports, pointing out that the ministry always takes measures to hire experienced and licensed contractors to perform maintenance and up-grade work.
I was wondering how this one ended up. I wonder if there was a lockout tagout procedure made part of the process for the up-grade and it was not followed. An arc flash would not have happened if the power was turned off and all secondary energies were dissipated.
I would also like to add that verification of all de-energized lines is a major part of the program. Saskatchewan had a report (possible program now) called the ‘Road to Zero Energy’ which I found to be a leader in the field across Canada. That was one of the reasons I found it difficult that this type of accident happened there or maybe it occurred before the changes were made. (or because the accident happened, the changes were made) Either way, I find that the province of Saskatchewan is becoming a pro-active province instead of the re-active kind.
Keep it up, Saskatchewan and lead the way!
Remember – In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
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‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.