Blog Post #1297 – Fatal Shock to Worker Results in $150,000 Fine for Trailer Manufacturer

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A worker, employed by Miska Trailer Factory of Hamilton, Ontario. was electrocuted after coming into contact with live powerlines.

On March 21, 2019, a worker employed by Miska was tasked by a supervisor with modifying some new flags attached to aluminum poles and then mounting the aluminum poles atop stationary flagpoles located along a fence in the factory’s parking lot.

The worker drove a forklift with a scissor lift on its forks to the work area in the parking lot, then got on the scissor lift with an aluminum pole with a flag attached. The worker raised the lift to reach the top of the flagpole.

As the aluminum pole was lifted into position, it made contact with the 16,000-volt live overhead powerlines above the flag pole, electrocuting the worker.

Co-workers lowered the scissor lift and the worker was transported to hospital in critical condition, ultimately succumbing to the injuries.

An investigation of the incident by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development found Miska did not take steps to prevent encroachment by the existing flagpole and new flag installation upon the 3-metre (10-foot) minimum distance set from live powerlines.

Miska committed the offence of failing, as an employer, to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker, contrary to section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Following a guilty plea in Ontario Court of Justice in Hamiton, Miska was fined $150,000 by Justice Anthony Leitch; Crown Counsel Shantanu Roy.

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.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

Miska Trailer Factory was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) section 25, subsection 2(h) which states,

“The employer shall,

Take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”

Actually, the operator was not competent to drive a self-propelled elevating work platform. He/she could not have been because there is a section of the training, per CSA B354.2 which states that there are 4 major hazards including electrocution. There is an acronym (MSAD) which stands for “Minimum Safe Approach Distance” when dealing with high voltage lines.

Section 60(1) of the ‘Industrial Establishments” regulation 851/90 states,

“Between 750-150,000 volt powerlines the worker must be a minimum 3 metres from the lines.”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Electrical Safety Awareness’ and ‘Elevating Work Platform’ training. 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 Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal 

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

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