Blog Post #133 – Hydro One Networks Inc. Fined $175,000 After Worker Seriously Injured

Blog Post #133 – Hydro One Networks Inc. Fined $175,000 After Worker Seriously Injured

Excerpt From the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Hydro One Networks Inc. was fined $175,000 on September 11, 2009, for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was seriously injured.

On September 30, 2008, an electrical crew was working on a new addition to the Red Lake transformer station. One crew member was in an non-insulated lift near a beam supporting a live electrical bus. There was an arc flash from the bus, setting the worker’s clothes and upper body on fire. The other crew members tried to lower the lift, but they could not activate the manual backup controls. The worker came out of the lift basket, was suspended in the air by fall-arrest equipment, and fell about five meters when the equipment burnt off. The worker suffered severe burns.

Hydro One Networks Inc. pleaded guilty under the OHSA to failing to ensure that electrical work performed on or near electrical transmission or distribution systems was performed in accordance with Rule 112 of the Electrical Utility Safety Rules, published by the Electrical and Utilities Safety Association of Ontario. This rule requires employers to establish written procedures for rescue operations. It also requires workers to learn and practise the rescue procedures.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Ray Zuliani. 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:

Hydro One was found guilty of a contravention of section 181 of the ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91, which states,

“Except where otherwise required by this regulation, electrical work performed on or near electrical transmission or distribution systems shall be performed in accordance with the document entitled “Electricity Utility Safety Rules” published by the Electrical and Utilities Safety Association of Ontario Incorporated and revised January 2009.”

It is always important for an employer to review all regulations the work environment BEFORE the work is being done. In this case, there are Electrical Utilities Safety Rules set in place to deal with most electrical issues. Why is the supervisor unaware of the standards that apply? Why does the employer not understand this as well.

Section 25 and 27 of the ACT were also violated. As far as I am concerned, there are numerous sections that could be used in this case. What about lockout and tagout?

The two main hazards associated with electricity is electrical shock and arcing. There should be control plans in place to deal with both of them.

I am curious what corrective action plan is to be in place as required by the MOL when dealing with any accident or incident. I hope it covers the needs of the workers to prevent a recurrence.

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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

Dan
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