Canadian Manufacturing

Two Ontario firms fined $285K after worker electrocuted on the job

A worker on a hydrovac excavation crew was killed when a boom made contact with overhead electrical lines


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NEWMARKET, Ont.—Two Ontario companies are facing significant fines after a worker was fatally electrocuted on a work site north of Toronto in November 2015.

PGC Services Inc. and K-Line Maintenance & Construction Ltd. pleaded guilty to safety violations that led to the worker’s death in court last week.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Labour, the incident took place at a construction project in Thornhill, Ont. where K-Line has been contracted to replace existing overhead power lines for a utility. PGC was sub-contracted to dig holes so new utility poles could be installed.

The company was using a process known as hydrovac excavation, which involves long articulating booms and high-pressure water. While setting up the equipment for the job, the boom arms of one of the two hydrovac trucks on-site touched the live overhead lines, causing an electrical current to pass through the truck, fatally electrocuting a worker beside the truck. The worker had been setting up a water hose, which conducted the electricity.

Under the province’s safety rules, PGC was responsible for ensuring no object was brought within three metres of “an energized overhead electrical conductor.” The company was fined $125,000 for its role in the incident.

K-Line, meanwhile, was fined $160,000 for failing to make sure a signaller was in place to warn the boom operator any part of the vehicle was within three metres of the overhead wires.


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