Canadian Electrical Industry News Week

Halifax CompanyScott Williams

R.D. Longard Services Ltd., an electrical firm no longer in operation, has been found guilty of two charges that contributed to the May 2013 electrocution of journeyman electrician Chris Boyle.

At the time, Boyle was tying down an electrical feeder cable for a new electrical service in a Halifax retail strip mall.This involved working on a meter cabinet with an operating voltage of 600 volts. The electrical work was being done after hours so that the strip mall tenants would be unaffected by a power shut-down.It’s not known why Boyle worked on the system while it was energized. The 39-year-old electrician left behind a wife, two young children, and an extended family.

Evidence presented during the trialestablished that the electrician was an experienced, highly regarded, fully-qualified electrician known to be safety conscious and attentive to safety issues. He “cannot have been unaware of the danger and must have thought he could do the work without coming into contact with the energized bus bars,” noted the judge in her ruling.

Although it was Boyle’s decision to work on the system while it was energized, the judge found that the company had failed to institute any health and safety policies or practices and relied exclusively on Chris Boyle being an experienced and safety-conscious electrician. “I also found that Longard did nothing to ensure compliance with the Canadian Electrical Code other than rely on Mr. Boyle to work safely and in accordance with the relevant legislative requirements for electrical jobs," she wrote.

R.D. Longard Services Ltd. was found guilty of failing to

• takeevery precaution reasonable in the circumstances to provide such information, instruction, or supervision" as necessary to the health and safety of Mr. Boyle (Section 13(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act)

• ensure that an electrical installation was serviced, repaired or dismantled in accordance with the latest version of CSA standard CSA C22.1, Canadian Electrical Code Part 1, Safety Standard for Electrical Installations (Subsection 120 of the OHSA General Regulations.

The company is no longer in operation. Since Boyle had been the company’s primary employee, it was unable to continue in business and is now insolvent. Nevertheless, the judge fined the company $35,000 and imposed a community service order requiring it to make a series of presentations on the facts of the case.

 

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