Blog Post #1397 – Saskatchewan Village Fined for Fatality

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine (July 2016)

The village of Torquay in southern Saskatchewan was fined $30,000 on June 06, 2016, and incident in which the exposure to hydrogen sulfide claimed a worker two years ago.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety dated June 10, 2016, the victim was exposed to the gas while working in a confined space near the village on March 11, 2014.

The village pleaded guilty steps to prevent exposure of a hazardous substance to a worker, resulting in a fatality. The village was charged with two other counts under provincial Occupational Health & Safety law, but these charges were dropped, the ministry states.

My opinion

$30,000 dollars for the life of a worker. The city was to have a Confined Space Entry program and policy in place. Is there one? If so, was the worker trained on the possible hazards when dealing with a confined space? Was the worker properly supervised? Was the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) provided? If it was, was the worker properly trained in its use?

All very good questions with no answers.

Ontario regulation 632/05, ‘Confined Spaces’ has some of the following information,

Section 5, subsection 1 states,

“If a workplace includes a confined space that workers may enter to perform work, the employer shall ensure that a written program for the confined space is developed and maintained in accordance with this Regulation before a worker enters the confined space.”

Section 5, subsection 3 states,

“In the case of a workplace that is not a project, the program described in subsection (1) shall be developed and maintained in consultation with the joint health and safety committee or the health and safety representative, if any.”

Finally, section 5, subsection 4 states,

“A program described in subsection (1) shall be adequate and shall provide for,

(a) a method for recognizing each confined space to which the program applies;

(b) a method for assessing the hazards to which workers may be exposed, in accordance with section 6;

(c) a method for the development of one or more plans, in accordance with section 7;

(d) a method for the training of workers, in accordance with section 8 or section 9.1, as the case may be; and

(e) an entry permit system that sets out the measures and procedures to be followed when work is to be performed in a confined space to which the program applies.”

As the reader can see, there was much the city could have put in place to protect the worker.

$30,000 isn’t going to make much of a difference.

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Confined Space Entry’. 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
CEO & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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