Blog Post #890 – Electrical Worker Killed, Enerquest Services Inc., Fined $110,000 in Death

Blog Post #890 – Electrical Worker Killed, Enerquest Services Inc., Fined $110,000 in Death

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Enerquest Services Inc., a Kingsville-based company specializing in power generation, controls and energy systems, was found guilty and was fined $110,000 after a worker was electrocuted while working on a solar farm construction project in Sunderland.

Enerquest contracted to provide electrical switchgear equipment, controls and communication equipment in a prefabricated electrical building (or E-House) to the solar farm under construction at 1690 Concession Road 7, in Sunderland. The electrical equipment and E-House involved in the fatality were manufactured and supplied by Enerquest to the project. Electrical connection of the E-House to the solar farm was to take place on a later date.

On December 9, 2013, the constructor notified Enerquest of some deficiencies in the E-House and Enerquest directed two workers to attend and make the necessary corrections.  On December 12, 2013, the two workers attended by van and plugged in a generator to an outside receptacle on the north side of the building in order to provide power to the E-House, its interior receptacles and operate its emergency lighting system. The generator plug-in is a design feature of this building to allow an alternate means of power to be used during the commissioning phase of the system. In addition to lighting, the workers required power for power tools to make the necessary repairs.

One worker entered the building and turned the lights on at an electrical panel, while his co-worker unloaded tools from the van. The two workers then reviewed their list of assigned tasks and worked until approximately 6 p.m. when they left the site for the day.

On December 13, 2013, the workers returned for a second day on site. They restarted the generator and tools were brought back into the E-House. The two workers began performing their assigned tasks.

One of the workers was installing a door interlock in a high voltage section of the building and accidentally came into contact with and received an electrical shock from a transformer. He was found by the co-worker and transported to hospital in Port Perry, then pronounced deceased.

On both days the workers worked on or near energized exposed parts of electrical equipment or of an electrical installation or conductor. The power supply to the electrical equipment, installation or conductor was not disconnected, locked out of service and tagged in accordance with section 190 of Ontario Reg. 213/ 91.

Enerquest as an employer failed to establish and implement written measures and procedures for complying with the regulation to ensure that workers were adequately protected from electrical shock and burns, and failed to make a copy of the written measures and procedures available to every worker on the project.

The company was found guilty and was fined $110,000 by Justice of the Peace Gerald Ryan in Whitby court on June 7, 2016.

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:

Enerquest Services Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91, section 190 (2) which states,

“An employer shall,

(a) establish and implement written measures and procedures for complying with this section to ensure that workers are adequately protected from electrical shock and burn; and

(b) make a copy of the written measures and procedures available to every worker on the project.”

Enerquest Services Inc. was also found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, section 25, subsection 1(c) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

(c) the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”

Every time I hear or read an occupational death due to an electrical hazard, be it arc flash or electrocution, I get steamed because there is no way this should happen if everyone had a healthy respect for electricity and followed all electrical regulations. What about Lockout and Tagout? I believe section 190, subsection 3,4,5 may have been the proper sections and an error on the original report was made.

Sections 190.3, 190.4, and 190.5 of the ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 states,

“(3) The worker shall follow the written measures and procedures.

(4) Subject to subsection (9), the power supply to the electrical equipment, installation or conductor shall be disconnected, locked out of service and tagged in accordance with subsection (6) before the work begins, and kept disconnected, locked out of service and tagged while the work continues.

(5) Hazardous stored electrical energy shall be adequately discharged or contained before the work begins and shall be kept discharged or contained while the work continues.”

Electrical hazards can be deadly but they do not have to be. Please ensure that a complete risk and hazard assessment has been completed before ANY job is to be started. That means EVERY time! The hazards today may be the same as tomorrow and they may not. A 2nd assessment is necessary.

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’, ‘Lockout and Tagout’, ‘Electrical Safety Awareness’ 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 – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

 

 

Dan
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