Electrical Contractor Fined $80,000 After Two Workers Suffer Burns

Workers Suffer Burns

An overhead and underground utility contractor has pleaded guilty and has been fined $80,000 after two workers suffered burns while working on electrical equipment that had not been properly shut off. The incident occurred at a Toronto condo building in February 2014. The two workers were from Powerline Plus, which was under contract to Toronto Hydro.

The workers were instructed by their supervisor to enter an electrical vault to begin preparing termination of conductors that had been pulled into the vault.The vault contained various energized electrical equipment, including step-down transformers and switchgears. The handle on one of the switchgears was in an open position with a blue tag attached indicating that there was work being conducted on the unit. Neither worker was aware that the switchgear remained energized, and since both workers believed the panel was not live they did not test to see if it was energized. No rubber gloves were worn and no barriers were used.

As the workers positioned themselves and began work, an arc flash occurred within the switchgear unit. Both workers received second- and first-degree burns; one of them also received third-degree burns.

Powerline Plus pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to ensure that the lockout measures and procedures prescribed by Ontario Regulation 213/91 (the Construction Projects Regulation) were carried out, contrary to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

 

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