Blog Post #841 – Ideal Drain Tile Ltd., Fined $110,000 in Death of Electrocuted Worker

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Ideal Drain Tile Ltd., a manufacturer of high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe, pleaded guilty and was fined $110,000 in the death of a worker who was working alone and received a fatal electrical shock.

On July 19, 2013, a worker at the company’s premises at 1100-100 Ideal Drive in Thorndale was working alone on a machine from an elevated forklift platform. There was no operator at the controls of the forklift as required, and the machine the worker was working on was not powered off.

A plug and thermocouple had been removed from the machine and the plug had been disassembled. With the plug’s parts removed, the prongs of the plug were exposed. The thermocouple would have been measuring the air temperature when removed, and the air temperature would have been below the set point. This triggered the machine’s control panel to send power to the plug-in order to heat the machine back to the set-point temperature.

The worker was found unresponsive on the elevated platform with the exposed and burnt prongs of the plug-in hand. The cause of death was electrocution.

The worker had been provided generic lock-out training but had not been trained on how to specifically lock out the machine being worked on.

Ideal Drain Tile Ltd. pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to ensure that the provisions of Ontario Regulation 851/90 – the Industrial Establishments Regulation – had been complied with. Specifically, it failed to ensure that the controls of the forklift were attended to and operated by another worker while a worker was on the elevated platform.

The company was fined $110,000 by Justice of the Peace Michael A. Cuthbertson in London provincial court on January 14, 2016.

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:

Ideal Drain Tile Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ Sector Regulation 851/90, section 52(e) which states,

“A crane, lift truck or similar equipment shall be used to support, raise or lower a worker only when,

(e) except when the controls are operated from the platform, the controls are attended and operated by another worker.”

Ideal Drain was also found guilty of a violation of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) section 25, subsection 1(c) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

(c) the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”

What a terrible, terrible waste! The worker was alone with no support and a hazard assessment of the operation was not completed prior to the work being done. Tragic!!!

As a trainer in occupational health and safety issues, especially the new ‘Working at Heights’ training (HRS Group Inc. is an approved provider) we always stress the need for workers to be competent and one needs ‘General’ as well as ‘Workplace Specific’ training to accomplish this. Here is a perfect example of the lack of workplace specific training needed to keep a worker safe.

As I said before, what a terrible waste!

If the reader is not aware, there is a actual definition for the term “competent person”.

““competent person” means a person who,

(a) is qualified because of knowledge, training and experience to organize the work and its performance,

(b) is familiar with this Act and the regulations that apply to the work, and

(c) has knowledge of any potential or actual danger to health or safety in the workplace.”

If your company does not live up to this important standard, then contact HRS Group Inc. and we can come up with the answers for you. Guaranteed!

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

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 ‘Forklift Certification’, ‘Forklift Re-Certification’ 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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