Blog Post #615 – Enbridge Gas Distribution Fined $150,000

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Enbridge Gas Distribution Ltd. has been fined $150,000 for a violation of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was killed while cutting grass on company property.

Enbridge Gas Distribution owns and operates a gas storage operation facility located at 3595 Tecumseh Road in Mooretown, Ontario. The facility is linked to a series of above-ground pipeline right-of-ways, including one near 807 St. Clair Parkway.

On October 11, 2011, the worker was fatally injured while working for an Enbridge Gas Distribution contractor. The worker was operating a sit-down lawnmower, owned by Enbridge Gas Distribution, on a sloped lawn area leading down to a wall at the edge of the St. Clair River and was fatally injured.

It was determined that the seatbelt restraining assembly on the mower did not operate as intended and would not lock into place as required. The mower’s roll-over protective structure was secured with cotter pins in a folded-down position and offered no protection.

Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to ensure the seatbelt restraining device was maintained so as to operate as intended, and was fined $150,000.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Anna Hampson. 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:

Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of section 6 of the Ontario regulation 856/90, ‘Roll-over Protective Structures’ which states,

“Every restraining device shall be designed, constructed, installed and maintained,

(a) so that the person using the device is secured in position and within the space protected by the roll-over protective structure if the machine to which it is fastened is travelling at a forward speed of 16 kilometres per hour, engages a thirty degree slope and rolls 360 degrees about its longitudinal axis on a hard clay surface; and

(b) so as to minimize injury to the person using the device, in case of an accident.”

Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. was also found guilty of violating section 25, sub-section 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.”

Every machine, tool or piece of equipment needs to come up with a proper set of SOPs which include all safety aspects of the job.

The best place to start to create SOPs is with the attached manual right from the manufacturer. Now, who would know their equipment better than they do? All it would have taken is a little time with the supervisor/employer to study the manual and look for the potential hazards associated with the lawnmower. If the supervisor/employer had taken the time to study the manual then worker would have been placed at risk and be alive today. Enbridge is a big enough company to have hired someone with a health and safety background that would have set everything up.

It is sure sad that everything has to change only when a death or critical injury occurs.

A terrible tragedy!

By the way, the employer was in contravention of section 25 subsection 2(a)  of the OHSA which states,

“The employer shall,

Provide the information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health and safety of the worker.”

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’ 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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