Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Hydro One Networks Inc. has pleaded guilty and has been fined $325,000 after a worker was killed while moving power equipment at the electricity transmission and distribution company’s Hinchinbrooke Distribution Station.
On March 5, 2013, a crew of five workers at the power company’s distribution station at 287 White Lake Road in Central Frontenac Township was engaged in replacing a voltage regulator. Because the regulator’s location has overhead steel beams, regulators cannot be moved and replaced using a crane alone; they have to be moved laterally.
The crew utilized a method called “jack and roll” which involved moving the regulator on wooden rollers. The existing regulator was removed without incident and the replacement regulator, weighing 15 tons, was then placed on a concrete pad to be moved into its final position. As it was being moved across wooden planking between two concrete pads, movement stopped because rollers were not fitting properly beneath the regulator.
One of the workers placed wooden blocking and mounted a jack with the intent of raising the edge of the regulator high enough to re-position the rollers and continue movement of the regulator. As the regulator was being raised, the jack slipped out of its position. The regulator tipped forward, trapping and crushing the worker. The other four workers were able to move the edge of the regulator enough to move the injured worker away. The worker succumbed to the injuries.
A Ministry of Labour investigation found that no written procedure existed for the jack-and-roll process. On other jack-and-roll procedures, workers had utilized equipment that stabilized movement and prevented uncontrolled forward movements; these were not used in this case. The location of the jack was hazardous for the worker in the event of uncontrolled forward movement of the regulator.
Hydro One Networks Inc. pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to ensure that materials or equipment at a project be stored and moved in a manner that does not endanger a worker, as required by Ontario Regulation 213/91 (the Construction Projects Regulation) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The company was fined $325,000 by Justice of the Peace Jack Chiang Provincial Offences Court in Kingston on January 13, 2015. 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:
Hydro One Networks Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Regulation 213/91 (Construction Projects Regulation), section 37, subsection 1 which states,
“Material or equipment at a project shall be stored and moved in a manner that does not endanger a worker.”
Hydro One Networks 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.”
This is the third or fourth blog post that I have written about concerns for Hydro One Networks Inc. I was not surprised to find another death under their umbrella.
I was at a safety conference put on by the Ministry of Labour (MOL) last year and, at that meeting, the safety representative from Hydro One. She mentioned that Hydro One had a terrific safety record but I beg to differ. If the reader has the time please read the blog and pay particular attention to anything dealing with Hydro One. It sure is an eye-opener!
All employers, not just Hydro One Networks Inc., must ensure that they comply with the act and appropriate sector regulations. The Ministry of Labour, upon completion of the investigation, expect a permanent corrective action plan to be put in place before they leave. Everyone needs to comply except Hydro One. Hydro One is an essential service and are, therefore, exempt from many of the stop work orders that may be issued.
It would help Hydro One to hire a safety staff that are well versed in the OHSA and sector regulations and can better direct and train both management and workers and be there to inspect for safety hazards and not place the onus on the ‘Joint Health and Safety Committee’.
Please ensure that your workplace is a safe place. Hire the best people and work to achieve zero accidents and incidents in the workplace. Create a safety culture and that starts from the top and filters all the way down. It doesn’t have to be costly but it can be to someone who ends up permanently injured or dies on the job.
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’, ‘Electrical Safety Awareness’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. 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.