Blog Post #1206 – Error Causes Disruption

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

Human error led to a recent service disruption on Vancouver’s light rapid transit-system.

The city’s transit Authority, TransLink, says an electrician was installing a new circuit breaker for the SkyTrain’s Evergreen Line at a power-distribution panel on July 21, 2014, when he accidentally tripped the main breaker feeding the critical systems at SkyTrain’s operations centre. The error resulted in a system-wide shutdown of train controls, causing a five-hour delay on the SkyTrain’s Millennium and Expo Line networks.

“Our trains are reliable 95% of the time, but we know that he is little consolation for customers who are delayed for hours when we do have a significant breakdown,” says Doug Kelsey, TransLink’s chief operating officer.

Louise Oetting, national representative for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), says the power-distribution panel in question is poorly designed and that CUPE members have raised the safety hazards and potential for failure on several occasions. “This panel should not be worked on during SkyTrain operating hours.” she notes.

Oetting reports that the power technician was suspended on the morning after the incident, but the supervisor and directed him to work on the panel was not. The suspended employee is a member of CUPE Local 7000, which represents 537 SkyTrain workers.

“Now we have a situation where an individual has been suspended after being directed to work in an unsafe manner,” Oetting charges, adding that the Union will conduct its own investigation.

My opinion

The safety world has changed so much and supervisory training is crucial.

In Ontario, section 27 covers the need for supervisors to “Do everything reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the worker.” (OHSA, section 27, subsection 2(c))  Mind you, the employer has the same responsibility under section 25, subsection 2(h). Either way, a hazard assessment would have recognized the concern and dealt with it appropriately!

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’ 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 

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – “In Canada, ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.



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