Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Algoma Tubes Inc., a manufacturer of steel pipe products based in Whitehorse, Yukon, has been fined $70,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after two workers were injured.
On July 15, 2011, two workers employed as electrical maintenance technicians by Algoma Tubes at the facility located at 547 Wallace Terrace in Sault Ste. Marie were decommissioning an out-of-service motor control centre (a large electrical panel). A de-energized control cable that one of the workers was removing came into contact with a 480-volt energized panel. The resulting arc flash caused one of the workers to sustain burns to one hand and the other worker to suffer burns to the hand, forearm and face.
The Ministry of Labour investigated the incident and found that Algoma Tubes failed as an employer to ensure that the workers used rubber gloves, mats, shields or other protective equipment and procedures adequate to ensure protection from electrical shock and burns while performing the work. The company pleaded guilty and was fined $70,000.
The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Jill Morris. 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.
The law(s) in contravention:
Algoma Tubes Inc., was found guilty of a contravention of section 42.1 subsection 2 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 which states,
“The worker shall use rubber gloves, mats, shields and other protective equipment and procedures adequate to ensure protection from electrical shock and burns while performing the work.”
Algoma tubes Inc., Was also found guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 1(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, (OHSA) which states,
“An employer shall ensure that,
(c) The measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”
I believe that section 42 subsection 1 and subsection 2 of the Ontario industrial sector regulation 851/90 were also violated. It states,
(1), “The power supply to electrical installations, equipment or conductors shall be disconnected, locked out of service and tagged before any work is done, and while it is being done, on or near live exposed parts of the installations, equipment or conductors.
(2)Before beginning the work, each worker shall determine if the requirements of subsection (1) have been complied with.”
In other words, there were numerous mistakes made at this operation. Algoma Tubes Inc.should have initiated a tail-gate meeting or tool-box meeting prior to the removal of the de-energized cable. If all the hazards were identified, assessed and controlled, this type of accident would not have happened and Algoma workers would have been better protected.
It is my hope that Algoma, by way of the Ministry of Labour, has learned from this and has placed permanent corrective actions in and around work such as this. It should be a learning experience at the very least.
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.
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.