Blog Post #432 – Waterloo North Hydro Inc. Fined $110,000

Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Waterloo North Hydro Inc., an electricity distributor for Waterloo and the surrounding area, was fined $110,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

On October 12, 2010, a mall was under construction in Waterloo. Workers from Waterloo North Hydro Inc. had installed transformers on site and were attempting to send power from a transformer in one location to a transformer in another location. As power was sent to the second transformer, a worker for an electrical contractor was in the area routing a metal tape through a duct. The tape came into contact with a newly energized electrical conductor and caused an arc flash. The worker was badly burned.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that an adequate job plan for energizing the transformers had not been documented. A job plan would have identified all known hazards and implemented controls for each hazard to protect workers from injury.

Waterloo North Hydro Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to establish and implement an adequate job plan prior to installing and energizing the transformers.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Ruth Legate Exon. 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:

Waterloo North Hydro Inc. was found guilty of violating section 181, sub-section 1 of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,

“Except where otherwise required by this Regulation, electrical work performed on or near electrical transmission or distribution systems shall be performed in accordance with the document entitled “Electrical Utility Safety Rules” published by the Electrical and Utilities Safety Association of Ontario Incorporated.”

Waterloo North Hydro Inc. was also found guilty of violating section 23, sub-section 1(a) which states,

“constructor shall ensure, on a project undertaken by the constructor that,

(a) the measures and procedures prescribed by this Act and the regulations are carried out on the project.”

Why was there no set of safe operating procedures? Why was there not an adequate job plan for energizing the transformers and why was there no discussion about the work at hand? You see, all hazards have to be identified, assessed and controlled before any work is done.

It would sure be a safer workplace if all employers followed these guidelines, now wouldn’t it!

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’, ‘Arc Flash 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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