Blog Post #39 – Electrical Apprentice Killed on the Job

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Lockerbie & Hole Eastern Inc., a Brantford construction firm, was fined $250,000 on September 29, 2009, for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was killed.

On October 3, 2007, the company was providing general site services for the construction of an electrical plant, in Toronto, for SNC-Lavalin Power Ontario Inc. While installing temporary lighting, an apprentice electrician opened a 600-volt electrical panel and contacted the taps of the live transformer. The worker was electrocuted.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the company had an electrical lockout policy in place, requiring electrical installations to be done under lockout conditions. However, there was no record of the worker receiving detailed training in this policy. Also, the written procedures made reference to out-of-province legislation instead of the OHSA and the applicable Ontario Regulations.

Lockerbie & Hole Eastern Inc. pleaded guilty under the OHSA to failing as an employer to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker. In particular, it failed to ensure its lockout procedure complied with the current legislative standards.

The fine was imposed by Justice Geraldine Sparrow.

SNC-Lavalin Power Ontario Inc. already pleaded guilty in relation to this incident and was fined $300,000 on July 7, 2009. The fines for both companies total $550,000.

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:

The fines were totally in line with the two companies’ lack of apparent knowledge of the ACT and its regulations.

The Industrial Establishments 851 regulations are quite explicit when it comes to Lockout/Tagout requirements.

Section 42 states, “The power supply to electrical installation, 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.

Section 76 states, “ Where the starting of a machine, transmission machinery, device or thing may endanger the safety of the worker,

(a) control switches or other control mechanisms shall be locked out, and
(b) other effective precautions necessary to prevent any starting shall be taken.”

The contractor should have had in place a sign off sheet for all subcontractors on all safety issues when coming on to the property. They would include;

1) To wear all appropriate PPE including safety shoes, safety glasses, safety gloves,
2) To have the appropriate ROTs (record of training) for such courses as Fall Protection, Lockout and Tagout, WHMIS, Forklift Driving, Aerial Work Platforms, (both scissorlifts and boom-supported lifts), Confined Space Entry if necessary, any Propane training if needed, (including filling and Heaters&Torches)

To better protect the employer in this matter the Health & Safety Co-ordinator (a management employee) SHOULD have produced a subcontractor co-ordination document which explains all the previous issues and only then would lead employer be satisfied that the subcontractors were fully prepared to work safely on their job site.

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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