Blog Post #844 – Sunrise Propane Energy Group Inc. Fined $280,000 After Death of Worker in 2008

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Sunrise Propane Energy Group Inc. has been fined $280,000 for a 2008 explosion that killed a young worker and created a subsequent fire.

Sunrise operated a propane business that supplied propane and industrial gases at a facility located at 54 Murray Road in North York (Toronto). On August 10, 2008, propane was accidentally ignited during a prohibited truck-to-truck transfer of the fuel, resulting in several explosions. A young worker on the night shift who had been employed with the company for a short time was killed in the explosions and fire.

Sunrise Propane Energy Group Inc. was found guilty of violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act on June 27, 2013. Justice Leslie A.P. Chapin ruled at that time that the company failed to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker regarding the safe work practices and recognition of hazards associated with propane storage, dispensing, handling and appropriate emergency response to propane leaks. She also ruled that it failed as an employer to take every reasonable precaution in the circumstances for the protection of a worker at a workplace.

The company, two of its directors and a related company were also found guilty of seven other charges under the Environmental Protection Act, including permitting the discharge of a contaminant into the natural environment and several counts of failing to comply with a provincial officer’s orders.

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:

Sunrise Propane Energy Group Inc. was found guilty of contraventions of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) section 25, subsections 2(a) and 2(h) which state,

2.“An employer shall,

(a) provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker; and

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

It was finally dealt with but it still baffles me that a Truck-to-Truck transfer operation was a regular occurrence there at the sight. Imagine you, the reader, driving to the gas station and drawing gasoline directly from the tanker! Not bloody likely!

The accident had created other safety improvements as well. There has to be a ‘Risk Assessment Officer’ on any site for propane storage over a certain amount. (I believe the number to be 5,000 US Water Gallons, or USWG and these type of facilities have to have a “Risk and Safety Management” plan)

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 ‘Due Diligence’, ‘Propane Handling and Exchange’, Propane Heaters and Torches’ 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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