Blog Post #149 – Another Electrical Apprentice Killed

Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A Brantford construction firm, was fined $250,000 on September 29, 2009, for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was killed.

On October 3, 2007, the company was providing general site services for the construction of an electrical plant, in Toronto, for SNC-Lavalin Power Ontario Inc. While installing temporary lighting, an apprentice electrician opened a 600-volt electrical panel and contacted the taps of the live transformer. The worker was electrocuted.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the company had an electrical lockout policy in place, requiring electrical installations to be done under lockout conditions. However, there was no record of the worker receiving detailed training in this policy. Also, the written procedures made reference to out-of-province legislation instead of the OHSA and the applicable Ontario Regulations.

Lockerbie & Hole Eastern Inc. pleaded guilty under the OHSA to failing as an employer to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker. In particular, it failed to ensure its lockout procedure complied with the current legislative standards.

The fine was imposed by Justice Geraldine Sparrow.

SNC-Lavalin Power Ontario Inc. already pleaded guilty in relation to this incident and was fined $300,000 on July 7, 2009. The fines for both companies total $550,000.

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:

Lockerbie was fined $250,000 for a violation of section 25, subsection 2(h) which states,

“The employer shall take every precaution reasonable in the circumstance for the protection of a worker.”

Again, we find another company violating this ambiguous section of the ACT. Many things could trigger a violation on this section. Lockerbie should have received, and demanded, the ROTs of every employee coming onto their worksites. Here we find that no questions were asked concerning Lockout and Tagout and an apprentice dies.

SNC Lavalin Power was already convicted for not providing proper instruction to the employee. Instead of the Quebec standards applied in this case, it was up to any and all employers to check the current OHSA standards. It is the responsibility of every employer to acquire the information prior to any entry to a worksite.

By the way, the total fines were $550,000 + $137,500 = $687,500. I would say that this amount still does not approach the true value of a life, especially a young one.

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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

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