Excerpt from the Ontario Government ‘Newsroom’
On January 18, 2010, Ontario Power Generation Inc., pleaded guilty and was fined $100,000 yesterday for a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was injured.
On January 15, 2008, two maintenance workers at the company’s Atikokan operating station were called to examine some malfunctioning equipment. The equipment was locked in a chamber to protect workers from its electrically energized, moving apparatus. A lockout system required equipment to be electrically de-energized, grounded and locked out before the chamber could open. An equipment operator used a bypass key to circumvent the lockout system and open a hatch door while the equipment was still energized. One of the workers shone a flashlight into the open door, causing an arc flash of electricity. The arc flash burned the worker’s hand, arm and chest.
A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the key used to bypass the lockout system was available to workers.
Ontario Power Generation Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to take the reasonable precaution of preventing ready access to the means of circumventing the lockout system.
The fine was imposed by Justice Peter Bishop. 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.
The law(s) in contravention:
OPG was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial Regulations’ 851.90, section 42 subsection (1) which states;
“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.”
Regulation 42, Section (7)
“The employer shall establish and implement written procedures for compliance with this section.”
Ontario regulation 630/94
A major corporation like OPG does not understand their responsibilities concerning health and safety in the workplace.
As you can see, the regulations have been in the books since 1994. I just wonder what type of training the OPG Human Resource department has. Health and Safety is not something to be taken lightly. The HR department should be the company experts and save the company embarrassing moments like this by studying the green book. It would be nice if they actually read it before hand instead of after the fact. The accident should not have happened!
Section 25, subsection (2h)
“The employer shall take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the worker.”
Does it look like they put their employee’s health and safety first?
As a trainer in health and safety, it never ceases to amaze me that very large companies, not just the small ones, do not understand their responsibilities under the ACT. A little research would have saved the employee the injury.
Just so we understand each other. I find OPG tends to want to do things by the book. Maybe the corporation needs to hire better people, those that have extensive training and knowledge in health and safety to better serve the needs of their employees.
It would be a nice place to start.
HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including electrical safety and lockout and tagout. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.
Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.