Blog Post #604 – Dreco Energy Services Fine in Welder Death

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

An oilfield equipment company received $365,500 in penalties three years after a worker was electrocuted at a worksite in Nisku, Alberta.

In December of 2011, Dreco Energy Services Ltd., a subsidiary of National Oilwell Varco, was levied the fine after pleading guilty to failing to ensure equipment was operated in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications.

The total penalty included a $10,500 fine (inclusive of victim fine surcharge), $240,000 payable to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology for the development of an aerial platform course and creation of a trades apprenticeship endowment in honour of the deceased, and $115,000 payable to Norquest College to develop a safety course on intercultural communications for on-site workers, notes information from Edmonton-based Alberta Human Services (AHS).

At approximately 11 pm on October 17, 2008, a worker found the welder unresponsive and slumped over in an aerial platform. They had been working on a track use for a travelling crane.

An investigation by AHS officers determined that the moving platform hits and then severed the insulating coating of a welding current conductor cable, energizing the platform and electrocuting the equipment operator.

My opinion

This is just another example of how not to enforce the laws given to them. The province of Alberta has always been lacking in the enforcement process as demonstrated in many of the previous post issued by this writer.

Dreco Energy Services should have received a larger personal fine!

Explain to me how a $10,500 fine payable within 30 days is much of a deterrent! Sure there is also $355,000 in incidentals payable when it is convenient. No other province would dare show such disdain for their workforce. No other province which show such a lack of regard for health and safety in the workplace.

At the present time, Ontario has a few of their own issues. Mind you, they know how to deal with it accordingly. Every month Ontario has numerous fines reaching as high as $1 million. They also add on top of that a 25% victim fine surcharge. In some cases, the Ontario surcharge is greater than the Alberta total.

If the reader would like, please review one of my old blog posts that discussed an audit, completed in Alberta, showing a real need for government enforcement.

As I said before, the provinces of Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec lead the way when it comes to the enforcement of their own health and safety laws. Please contact your own provincial or federal members of Parliament and have them take more than an active interest. I wonder if the new NDP provincial government will make the changes necessary.

Only time will tell!

Remember – Alberta Health and Safety – An Oxymoron!

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 ‘Due Diligence’, Welding Safety Awareness’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. 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 – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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