Blog Post #716 – Electrocution Claims Worker

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

A worker in his 30s was electrocuted while doing work on the rooftop of a MacDonald’s fast food restaurant in Ottawa on February 24, 2013.

William Lin, a spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Labour in Toronto, says the employee of Shouldice Mechanical was tending to a walk-in cooler, which had an access point on the building’s rooftop when the accident took place at about 11:00 pm.

“The worker was taken to the hospital and it is believed that the worker suffered fatal injuries as a result of electrocution,” Lin reports. The Ottawa police service, the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) and the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) also attended the scene.

The restaurant was cited with failing to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker from an electrical shock hazard from the capacitor located on the restaurant’s rooftop, which was identified as a walk-in freezer.

Several orders relating to actions the company must take to ensure the utmost safety of their employees was also issued. They include ensuring that the exposed electrical light bulb in the roof access closet must be suitable for muse and not able to be struck by a worker; a guard rail must be installed; and the fixed roof access ladder located in the lobby closet has side rails that extend 90 centimetres above the landing.

My opinion

Section 25, subsection 2 (h) was violated by the company and it states,

“An employer shall,

(h) Take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”

Section 84, subsections (a), (e) and (f), of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 requires an access ladder fixed in position,

a) Shall be vertical
e) Shall have side rails that extend 90 centimetres above the landing (36 inches)
f) Shall have rungs that are at least 15 centimetres (6 inches) from the wall and spaced at regular intervals.”

Please ensure that your workplace is a safe place. Read the appropriate sections of the Act and the sector regulation that applies to your business. You and your workers will certainly be glad you did. A safe work procedure and tailgate meeting prior to this particular operation would certainly have given the worker a better chance to have survived. All appropriate hazards, including electrical hazards, would have been discussed and the aim would have been to place controls (including lockout/tagout) prior to the onset of the maintenance work.

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 – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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