Electrical Company, Supervisor Fined Total of $60,000 After Workers Suffered Burns

Safety

July 15, 2019

An Ontario Justice of the Peace has fined an electrical company $55,000 and a supervisor $5,000 for an incident in which an arc flash occurred, burning three workers. The court also imposed a 25% victim fine surcharge ($13,750 and $1,250, respectively), as required by the Provincial Offences Act.

In January 2018, a six-person crew including a supervisor were working in an electrical room to upgrade electrical services. The upgrade involved shutting down the existing service, and installing a new switch (disconnect) and new electrical wiring.

The arc flash happened while three workers were preparing the service to receive the disconnect, which meant the system was still energized.

The employer was found to have failed to establish and implement written measures and procedures as prescribed in Section 190(2)(a) of Ontario Regulation 213/91 (for Construction Projects). The section provides that an employer shall establish and implement written measures and procedures to ensure that workers are adequately protected from electrical shock and burn.

A supervisor was found to have failed to ensure workers had followed Section 190(4) requirements: “the power supply to the electrical equipment, installation or conductor shall be disconnected, locked out of service and tagged… before the work begins, and kept disconnected, locked out of service and tagged while the work continues.”
As reported by

Ontario’s Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) attributes improper installation procedure or lack of hazard assessment as the cause of 50% of electrically related fatalities and critical injuries.*

* “Protecting the Electrical Trade Through a Strong Voice,” IBEW CCO; http://ibewcco.org/news/protecting-electrical-trade-strong-voice-report/

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