Blog Post #99 – Electrocution the Result Of Various Issues

Blog Post #99 – Electrocution the Result Of Various Issues

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada Magazine

Safe work procedures, employee training and use of personal protective equipment all would have helped prevent a Quebec worker’s electrocution earlier this year, provincial investigators say.

On June 11, 2008, the president of 9121-6028 Quebec Inc. was fatally injured at a construction site in the Quebec village of Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac. Christian Poirier was holding an aluminum ladder when it contacted a 14,400-volt power line.

An accident investigation report — released September 30 by the Commission de la sante et de la securite du travail (CSST) — notes the death was caused by the unsafe method used to move the ladder and the lack of safe procedures when working around live lines.

In particular, says CSST spokesperson Eric Arseneault, there were no working rules between 9121-6028 Quebec. and the electrical company that is responsible for the overhead electrical wires. “We found that he did not have sufficient training or information about how to work safely close to those lines,” Arseneault reports.

On the day of the accident, he reports Poirier and another worker were initially installing cladding on a building. At one point, Poirier needed to reposition the ladder.

As he was carrying it vertically, Arseneault says the “upper part of the ladder came into contact” with the live line.

The CSST determined 9121-6028 Quebec, which served as the site’s project manager, acted in a manner that compromised employee safety, and has recommended a penalty of $5,000 to $20,000.

Following the accident, says Arseneault, the CSST issued several orders against the company, including the following:

– ensure no access to the accident site and nearby scaffolding;
– stop any work at heights or that involve handling ladders in close proximity to power lines;
– develop a written safe work procedure for handling ladders and distribute that information to employees; and,
– train workers on the dangers associated with work near power lines.

Arseneault notes that Quebec’s Code de securite pour les travaux de construction requires any worker or machinery that may contact an electrical line to remain specified distances away, based on the voltage of the current: three metres if the current is less than 125,000 volts; five metres if voltage is from 125,000 to 250,000 volts; eight metres for voltages of 250,000 to 550,000 volts; and 12 metres for currents more than 550,000 volts.

Last year, 56 workers were electrocuted or injured in electricity-related incidents in the province.

My opinion

In Ontario, the Construction regulations 213/91, section 188 (2) state,

“No object shall be brought closer to an energized overhead electrical conductor with a nominal phase-to-phase rating set out in Column 1 of the Table to this subsection than the distance specified opposite to it in Column 2.

Column 1 Column 2
Nominal phase-to-phase voltage rating Minimum distance

750 or more volts, but no more than 150,000 volts 3 metres
More than 150,000 but no more than 250,000 volts 4.5 metres
More than 250,000 volts 6 metres

Since the distances for MSAD (minimum safe approach distance) in Ontario are less than those in Quebec, it must be the lack of enforcement that caused the 56 electrocution or electrical-related accidents that happened in one year in Quebec. I do know that Ontario would have taken a more firm stance.

The maximum fine for an individual for a contravention of the ACT is $25,000 and a company can be fined up to $500,000 for the same or other contravention. I was very surprised to learn the small suggested fine of between $5,000 and $20,000 as an answer to the problem. How can a man’s life be worth only a few thousand dollars. Can this tiny fine really be a deterrent for all companies in the province of Quebec, let alone the rest of Canada? Quebec has a reputation for toughness when it comes to health and safety. Is there going to be compensation to his family if he had one?

The judge or magistrate sitting during this case needs to understand that healthcare in Canada is costing more and more. If accidents are dealt with properly and companies are made to pay a fair amount then this can be viewed as a proper corrective action for the province of Quebec. A deterrent needs to be in place for all employers and they need to fully understand that the health and safety of the worker is their responsibility and will be held accountable. The Quebec Minister involved needs to review the fine scale so that the number of future events will be minimized.

He/she may not have any other choice.

By the way, the same fine in Ontario, if previous examples can be used, would have been around $100,000 to as much as $600,000 as was the example for the death of the electrical apprentice during a lockout tagout procedure, and yes, that employee was trained in Quebec.

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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

Dan
Share

35 Comments

  1. Sheba Stiles

    Hi great job! I love this website.

  2. Barney

    Nicely done.

  3. Jim Watt

    Hi. A great read!

  4. Maczko

    This is my first time I visit here; I found so many useful stuff in your website especially its discussion from the lot of comments on your articles.

  5. Frederick

    Read was interesting, stay in touch……

  6. Becky Bawks

    Do you have a Facebook page or Twitter? Would love to follow you there, I’m on my iPhone and love reading your stuff!

  7. Callagher

    Hello, interesting post! I will keep reading your homepage.

  8. Ebenstein

    Where are you getting this information.

  9. Matthew

    Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the write-up. It proved to become Pretty useful to me and I am positive to all the commenters here Its always great when you can not only be informed, but also entertained Im certain you had fun writing this write-up.

  10. Wilma

    Lovely website! A little too spammy though.

  11. Clendenin

    Wow! That’s an attention-grabbing slant.

  12. Groder

    Nice blog, thank you very much.

  13. Antonio

    This will be the most heavy imagination that you are supplying and you turn over it away for free. I savor seeing websites that be aware of the value of rendering a prime resource for free. I truly enjoyed reading your super Post. Thanks!

  14. Rissanen

    Just discovered this site through Google, what a way to brighten up my day.

  15. Flannigan

    Very nice post. I certainly love this web site. Keep it up!

  16. Holan

    I want to thank you for all the great information you are providing.

  17. Shareef

    Great source of information for me to use.

  18. Burns

    Victory for the masses! This is needed to be said.

  19. Brigham

    It’s not that I want to duplicate your web-site, but I really like the layout. Could you tell me which theme are you using?

    1. Receptionist

      WordPress!

      Daniel L. Beal

  20. Corrine

    This can be a superb guide for me. Very precise information…

  21. Sharon Woods

    I really like your weblog.. really wonderful colours and theme. Did you create this web site yourself? Please reply back again as I’m looking to create my own weblog and would like to know where you acquired this from.

    1. Receptionist

      Contact Jeff at the bottom of the home page and he can fill in the details. He can even help you.

      Daniel L. Beal

  22. Abel Dorsette

    I’ve read some good stuff here.

  23. Jon Carswell

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing.

  24. Keala

    My brother thought I may like this website. He was totally right.

  25. Erica

    I love it whenever people come together and share ideas.

    Great blog, continue the good work!

  26. Cherie

    Thank you so much!

  27. Carol Greenfield

    I wanted to thank you for all the great information you are providing!

  28. Angus

    The other day, while I was at work, my cousin told me about this site and I am glad he did!

  29. Tiffany

    Have a look.

  30. Bradley

    Keep up the great posts!

  31. Frederick

    Hello Web Admin, I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors.

  32. Kym Brodbeck

    Great article!

  33. Edward

    Hello Web Admin, I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors.

Post a comment