Canadian Manufacturing

Kitchener electrical company fined $60K after workers suffered burns

The Kitchener, Ont., electrical services provider failed to establish working conditions compliant with Ontario regulations

June 21, 2019  by CMO Staff

O’Connor Electric Ltd. has pleaded guilty to an offence of failing to establish and implement written measures and procedures to ensure that workers are adequately protected from electrical shock and burn.

The Ontario Ministry of Labour imposed a fine of $60,000 after three workers received burns from an arc flash while working on an energized electrical system.

According to the court, the incident took place at the facility located in Kitchener, Ont., on January 11, 2018, when a six-person crew, including a supervisor, were working in electrical room to upgrade the electrical services. The upgrade was to shut down the existing service, install a new switch and new electrical wiring.

While workers installed the service (disconnect), an arc flash occurred, which meant the system was in fact energized. Three workers received electrical burns.

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

The regulation further stipulates that “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.”

The Ministry of Labour found that the electrical services provider failed to establish working conditions compliant with the regulation, and that the supervisor failed to ensure workers had followed regulations.