Blog Post #404 – Marathon Drilling Co. Ltd. Fined $65,000 after Worker Injured

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Marathon Drilling Co. Ltd., a Greely, Ontario construction company was fined $65,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

On October 7, 2010, the company was drilling at a construction project on Albion Rd. in Ottawa. The company was using a boom truck to lift and move construction materials needed for the drilling work. A worker was helping to place an auger being moved by the boom truck. The worker was holding the chains attaching the auger to the boom truck’s hook when the truck came into contact with an overhead electrical conductor. The worker received an electric shock and was seriously burned.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the cable of the boom truck was too close to the overhead electrical conductor at the time of the incident.

Marathon Drilling Co. Ltd. pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the cable of the boom truck was kept away from the overhead conductor by at least the minimum distance prescribed by the Ontario Regulation for Construction Projects.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Brian Mackey. 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:

Marathon Drilling Company Ltd., was found guilty of a contravention of section 188, subsection 2, of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,

“No object shall be brought closer to an energized overhead conductor with a nominal phase-to-phase voltage rating set out column 1 of the Table to this subsection than the distance specified opposite to it in column 2.”

Each of the 3 sectors, Industrial, Construction and Mining, has the MSAD table listed. Below is the example listed for construction projects,

1. 750 or more volts, but no more than 150,000 volts – 3 metres
2. More than 150,000 volts but no more than 250,000 volts – 4.5 metres
3. More than 250,000 volts – 6 metres

It is also my understanding that MSAD (minimum safe approach distance) is something covered off in ALL training courses dealing with excavations and boom-supported mobile crane training. I wonder why the operator failed to resolve this concern with a little re-con of the area prior to doing the work. Precautions like that are necessary in and around power-lines. Keep your employees safe!

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 ‘Electrical Safety Awareness’ and ‘Minimum Safe Approach Distance’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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

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