Post #369 – Somerville Fined $50,000 after Fire

Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Robert B. Somerville Co. Limited, a King City pipeline contractor, was fined $50,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that resulted in a fire.

On September 30, 2009, workers were installing a new natural gas line that crossed under Winston Churchill Blvd., in Mississauga, and led into Lisgar Station, an Enbridge distribution facility. Workers were at Lisgar Station working on the new pipe when they heard a gas leak and evacuated the project. Shortly afterwards, the leaked gas ignited, resulting in a fire.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the exposed pipe was pressurized with natural gas while workers were present. However, not all workers were told that this was the case.

Robert B. Somerville Co. Limited pleaded guilty to failing to provide information to workers to protect the health and safety of those workers.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Leon Fayolle. 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:

Robert B. Somerville Co. Limited was found guilty of a contravention of section 25 (a) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“The employer shall,

a) Provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker.”

First of all, I have to let the readership know I am the one that starts the last part of the post with “The law(s) broken”. I feel it is necessary to report the actual regulation or relevant section of the ACT that applies in the particular issue.

Robert B. Somerville needed to be aware of all the hazards before and during the excavation as well as report said hazards to the on-site supervisor as well as the workforce. It is a simple procedure and it will better protect the lives of those they are responsible for.

As an employer in Ontario, as it should be in all provinces, you must ensure that your employees have the necessary tools to do the work safely. In this case, that included crucial safety information.

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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