Blog Post #949 – Maintenance Work Results in Electrical Shock, Employer Fined $50,000

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

An owner-operator of residential and commercial buildings pleaded guilty and has been fined $50,000 after a worker received an electrical shock and was injured falling off a ladder while replacing part of a light fixture.

On July 21, 2015 an employee of Bona Building & Management Limited was working at a Bona commercial office building. Among the worker’s building maintenance duties was replacing parts of light fixtures. On that day the worker was changing a “ballast” light fixture on the ceiling of one of the building’s public hallways. The task required the worker to climb a five-foot ladder in order to remove the existing ceiling ballast and insert a new one.

On this occasion, and contrary to Bona’s own policy, the energy source of the light fixture in question was not shut off, locked-out or tagged. The worker suffered an electric shock and fell from the ladder. As a result of the fall, the worker suffered fractures.

Ontario Regulation 851 (the Industrial Establishments Regulation): stipulates that electrical equipment be de-energized and locked out when being serviced.

The Ministry of Labour investigated this incident and determined that Bona failed in its duty as an employer to ensure that measures and procedures prescribed by the regulation were carried out in the workplace.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the power supply to an electrical installation was disconnected and locked out before work was done, and was fined $50,000 by Justice of the Peace Serge Legault in Ottawa court on December 21, 2016.

The court also 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:

Bona Building & Management Limited was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90, section 42, subsections 1 and 2 which states,

(1) The power supply to electrical installations, equipment or conductors shall be disconnected, locked out of service and tagged before any work is done, and while it is being done, on or near live exposed parts of the installations, equipment or conductors.”

(2) “Before beginning the work, each worker shall determine if the requirements of subsection (1) have been complied with.”

Bona Building and Management Limited was also found guilty of a contravention 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.”

Lockout and Tagout is a serious enough program and procedure that every sector regulation, be it ‘Industrial’, ‘Construction’, ‘Mining’ and ‘Healthcare’ have a section that lays out electrical requirements, including the need to lockout and tagout before any work near energized lines is to take place. It also stipulates that the worker MUST verify that the energized lines are properly disconnected.

There is no need for a worker to be electrically-shocked if they follow safe work procedures such as LOTO. The company needed to know this and ensure that LOTO was being enforced.

Where was the supervisor in all this? (Another great question)

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’, ‘Lockout and Tagout’ 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.


Leave a Comment