Blog Post #258 – Contractor and Director Fined $44,000 Total for Safety Violation

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Network Site Services Ltd., a construction contractor from Cambridge, was fined $38,000 on November 19, 2010, for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Donald Medeiros a director with the company, was fined $6,000 in relation to the same incident.

On September 30, 2009, the company was constructing a new sewer and water main in New Hamburg. Workers were using an excavator to load a dump truck with materials. The truck was parked at Waterloo St. and Hostetler Rd., beneath a set of energized overhead conductors. The worker driving the excavator swung its boom towards the dump truck. In doing so, the boom came within three meters of the overhead conductors. This created an arc of electrical contact with the overhead power lines. The excavator driver heard a cracking sound and swung the boom away from the power lines. No one was hurt.

Network Site Services Ltd. pleaded guilty to failing, as a constructor, to ensure that the excavator’s boom was kept farther than three meters away from the overhead conductor. Donald Medeiros pleaded guilty to failing, as a director, to ensure the same.

The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Robert Gay. In addition to the fines, 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:

Network Site Services Ltd., and company Director Donald Medeiros, were both found guilty of  a contravention of section 188 (2) of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,

“No object shall be brought closer to an energized overhead electrical conductor with a nominal phase-to-phase voltage rating set out in the following,

a) 750 volts and up to 150,000 volts — 3 metres
b) 150,000 volts up to 250,000 volts — 4.5 metres
c) More than 250,000 volts — 6 metres”

The electrical code spells out such things as proximity to power lines. An excavation should always start with recognition of all power lines, the voltage, and training for all workers, (including supervisors) on high voltage line safety awareness.

Safety is an amazing tool and, properly used, will keep your costs down. The employees feel great that you are taking their safety seriously and will show their appreciation by staying as long term employees. The MOL will thank you by not having to visit you so often and keep your company on their radar.

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
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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