Ontario’s Ministry of Labour issued two stop-work orders at an Eastern Power Ltd. plant near Sarnia, ON, according to a recent report in The Globe and Mail. The stop-work orders indicate Eastern was exposing workers to live electrical equipment without telling them and not following proper procedures.
Days earlier workers had walked off the job because of poor safety practices and reprisals against workers who complained. In the last two years, the ministry had already written 196 orders on safety hazards at the site.
According to The Globe and Mail, electricians who work at the site say Eastern has few safety procedures in place to control who has access to electrical equipment.“They don’t even follow their own lockout procedure. They hand out keys like candy,” said Jeremy Robertson, a foreman at the site. “We had to fight with them just to have them put locks on equipment… zero communication between management and the people actually doing the job.”
Electrician Wesley Segade said electrical panels are often connected to power without anyone telling the people working on them. On one occasion, he said, an apprentice nearly began working on an electrical cabinet charged with 125 volts without knowing it was live. Luckily, he said, she checked it with a voltage tester beforehand and discovered the danger.
“She could have been burnt or hurt or even killed,” he was quoted as saying.