Blog Post #405 – Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel was Fined $70,000 after Worker Injured

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel and Conference Centre, of Etobicoke, was fined $70,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

On May 1, 2010, a maintenance worker was changing a fuse in a 600-volt electric panel. When the worker attempted to pull out the fuse with metal pliers, there was an explosion. The worker suffered first, second and third degree burns.

Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel and Conference Centre pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the worker did not use a tool capable of conducting electricity near the electric panel.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Warren Ralph. 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:

Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel and Conference Centre was found guilty of a contravention  section 43 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 which states,

“Tools and other equipment that are capable of conducting electricity and endangering the safety of any worker shall not be used in such proximity to any live electrical installation or equipment that they might make electrical contact with the live conductor.”

Was this maintenance worker ever trained in electrical hazards? Was he/she an electrician in the first place? I think not! Any electrician I have met over the years has a healthy respect for electricity and works accordingly.

Here we find a maintenance worker, (note the description does not say electrician) using a pair of pliers. He/she was probably using this method many times before with no incident. Sure, this may be the case but where was his thought process going here?

All of us have had a minor electrical shock at some point in our life. It gave us quite a scare and helped us to develop a healthy respect for electricity.

No one in their right mind would use a metal set of pliers to remove fuses from a live panel. Well, at least no one that I know. Where was the SOPs that would have included Lockout and Tagout? Check out section 42.1 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851 for more information. This particular section could have also been used as far as the fining process. That could have helped put the fines much higher.

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 ‘Lockout and Tagout’. 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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