Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Entegrus Powerlines Inc., a Chatham electrical utility contractor, pleaded guilty and has been fined $70,000 after two workers received electrical burns.
On August 11, 2016, a six-person crew was changing a switch on a utility pole on Head Street North in Strathroy. The final steps for installing the new switch involved forming thick copper leads that would attach the switch to live 16,000-kV power lines. The safety cover on the lines was removed during this time and not reinstalled. Additionally, none of the crew members were assigned to act as a dedicated observer – someone competent in the work being performed who has no other duties but to continuously monitor the situation.
While workers were forming the fifth of the six leads needed to install the switch, the end of the lead made contact with the live power line. An energy surge went through the lead, switch and utility pole. Two of the workers were in contact with the pole at the time and suffered electrical burns.
Entegrus Powerlines Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to take the reasonable safety precaution of ensuring that a dedicated observer, who was competent in the task being performed, was in place with no other duties but to monitor the work continuously.
The company was fined $70,000 in London court by Justice of the Peace Anna Hampson on August 31, 2017.
The court also 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.
The law(s) in contravention:
Entegrus Powerlines Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), section 25, subsection 2 (h) which states,
“An employer shall,
(h) take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”
Where was the supervisor in all this? Was he or she trained properly? If not, then section 25, subsection 2(c) was also in contravention which states,
“An employer shall,
(c) when appointing a supervisor, appoint a competent person.”
If the supervisor WAS properly trained then all of section 27, of the OHSA was in contravention which states,
1) “A supervisor shall ensure that a worker,
(a) works in the manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by this Act and the regulations; and
(b) uses or wears the equipment, protective devices or clothing that the worker’s employer requires to be used or worn.”
Additional duties of supervisor
(2) “Without limiting the duty imposed by subsection (1), a supervisor shall,
(a) advise a worker of the existence of any potential or actual danger to the health or safety of the worker of which the supervisor is aware;
(b) where so prescribed, provide a worker with written instructions as to the measures and procedures to be taken for protection of the worker; and
(c) take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”
Any way you look at it, this company failed their workers. There was no need for this type of accident if the hazards were identified, assessed and controlled prior to any work is to be done.
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’, ‘Electrical Safety Awareness’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.