Excerpts From the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
A Montreal, Quebec company that makes pulp, paper, and wood products at facilities across Canada and the United States, was fined $87,000 on April 16, 2009, for a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, after a worker was injured.
On March 20, 2007, at the company’s facility in White River, an electrician was doing maintenance work on a machine in the plant. While the worker was testing the voltage inside an electrical panel on the machine, an arc flash, or electrical blast, burned the worker’s hand and face.
A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the worker was not wearing rubber gloves or wearing a shield.
Domtar Inc. pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to ensure the worker used protective equipment and procedures adequate for protection against electrical shock and burns.
The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Pierre Leclerc. In addition to the fine, the court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge on the total, 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:
Domtar Inc. was convicted under the ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90, section 42.1(2) which states,
“The worker shall use rubber gloves, mats, shields and other protective equipment and procedures adequate to ensure protection from electrical shock and burns while performing the work.”
Even in this day and age, a company the size of Domtar does not understand its responsibilities in the health and safety field. Again, we see that proper training and proper supervision would have given the operator a better than average chance to have avoided the accident. That means that the company could have been charged with section 25 of the ACT, sub section 2(c) as well as section 27 , subsection 1(a).
Section 25, 2(c)
“When appointing a supervisor, appoint a competent person.”
Section 27, 1(a)
“A supervisor shall ensure that a worker, (a) works in the manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by this ACT and the regulations.”
The company, as part of its attempt to placate the MOL, will need to put in to place a corrective action plan necessary to guarantee no further recurrence. Proper PPE as well as Lockout & Tagout procedures will need to be adhered to before the electrical employees attempt another electrical panel entry.
That will have to be guaranteed in writing.
Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.