Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

CANADA: Arc Flash Victims get Air Lifted

December 21, 2012 Leave a comment

REGINA, CANADA — The STARS air ambulance is to received $10 million over the next five years from the province’s Crown corporations.

The Crown Investments Corporation, SaskPower, SaskEnergy, SaskTel and SGI will each contribute $2 million toward this initiative within the five-year time frame.

“STARS is a natural fit for the Crowns to support,” Donna Harpauer, minister of Crown investments. said in a news release. “The government as a whole has committed to support STARS and the Crowns have crews working in rural and remote areas across the province, sometimes in hazardous conditions. We all have a stake in public safety and emergency response.”

STARS began providing service out of Regina on April 30 and the Saskatoon service followed on Oct. 15.

On Dec. 12, the air ambulance services was called after two SaskPower employees were injured.

“There was a workplace incident, there were no fatalities,” said Heather Johnson, SaskPower spokeswoman. “Two employees did suffer injuries as a result of an electrical arc flash. They are recovering from those injuries.”

However due to the weather STARS was unable to transport the two victims for treatment.

Johnson said she was unable to provide any more additional information about the injuries sustained by the two workers because “that’s personal health information.”

She said SaskPower is currently investigating the incident.

“We are in co-operation with Labour Relations and Workplace Safety,” said Johnson.

Alter is located 120 kilometres east of Estevan and three kms from the Manitoba border.

To date, STARS has flown more than 140 missions in Saskatchewan.

“We’re extremely grateful for this support,” said Rod Gantefoer STARS foundation executive director in a news release. “We’re still a young organization in this province and this will allow us to be there when we’re needed as we continue to build our fundraising capacity.”

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CANADA: Arc Flash at SIAST

August 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Regina, Canada: SIAST building at Wascana Campus in Regina will remain closed Wednesday after an electrical surge Monday caused blacked out power for all of Tuesday.  The Canadian Security Exam scheduled for this evening will be held at the SIAST Wascana Parkway Centre. Daytime Basic Education and ESL classes have been transferred to the SIAST Wascana Parkway Centre until power is restored.

Around 9:30 Monday night, a 29-year-old man was working on an upgrade being done to the electrical system of the building.  What happened next is being described as an arc-flash incident.  The man was sent to hospital but he will be fine. As of Tuesday night the power was still out at the building.  “We’re not even 100 percent certain that it was an arc flash,” explained Richard Murray with the Ministry of Central Services, “I’ve heard the term arc flash bandied about here today.  But until the investigation is complete, I’m not even certain if that’s what we’re facing here.” The building is run by the province.  Murray added that there is no danger to the public or students.

All normal operations were shut down at the building Tuesday including a couple of summer classes. A few summer classes were temporarily moved to SIAST’s Wascana Parkway Centre.
Tuesday evening, the school announced the main building would remain shut down for Wednesday as well.

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CANADA: Waterloo North Hydro fined $110K for Arc Flash Incident

Ontario, Canada: Waterloo North Hydro fined $110,000 under Ontario workplace safety law after worker burned from arc flash. The Ontario Ministry of Labour announced Wednesday that electricity distributor Waterloo North Hydro Inc. was fined $110,000 under the Occupational Health and Safety Act in relation to an incident in which a worker was badly burned due to an arc flash.

The charges relate to an incident at a mall construction project in 2010 in Waterloo.  “Workers from Waterloo North Hydro Inc. had installed transformers on site and were attempting to send power from a transformer in one location to a transformer in another location,” the ministry stated in a press release Wednesday. “As power was sent to the second transformer, a worker for an electrical contractor was in the area routing a metal tape through a duct. The tape came into contact with a newly energized electrical conductor and caused an arc flash. The worker was badly burned.”

The utility pleaded guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice in Kitchener to failing to establish and implement an adequate job plan prior to installing and energizing the transformers.  “A job plan would have identified all known hazards and implemented controls for each hazard to protect workers from injury,” the Ministry of Labour stated.

One relevant section of provincial law is Section 181(1) of Ontario Regulation 213/91, which states: “Except where otherwise required by this Regulation, electrical work performed on or near electrical transmission or distribution systems shall be performed in accordance with the document entitled ‘Electrical Utility Safety Rules’ published by the Electrical and Utilities Safety Association of Ontario Incorporated and revised January, 2009.”

The other relevant section was Occupational Health and Safety Act, Section 23(1)(a).  The fine was imposed Monday by Justice of the Peace Ruth Legate Exon. The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge to be credited to a government fund intended to help victims of crime.

Story via Daily Commercial News

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CALGARY: Electrical Fire shuts down 911 service, Radio and More

CALGARY, CANADA:  An electrical fire at Shaw Communications’ downtown headquarters  has wiped out radio stations, internet service, 911 service in the core, cable  TV service and much of city hall’s phone system.

Fire crews were called early Wednesday afternoon for a two-alarm incident at  Shaw Court at 630 3rd Ave. S.W. Calgary Fire spokesman Jayson Doyscher said the  incident appears to be in an electrical room on the 13th floor.

The building’s employees were evacuated, but EMS said they were not treating  any patients.

Shaw’s corporate base is also the nerve centre for several major  communications servers, it turns out. The Alberta Emergency Alert network said  around 4 p.m. that the incident has disrupted 911 services to up to 30,000 of  Shaw’s land line customers in downtown Calgary. It urged users to call 911 by  cellphone if necessary.

Alberta Health Services’ network has also gone down, said Bruce Burrell, the  city’s emergency operations chief.

The City of Calgary has also initiated its municipal emergency plan, as its  311 hotline and many of its office phones had gone down.

The city has set up a temporary line to replace 311 — 403-695-3255 — but  cautioned that its capacity is limited and should only be used for “priority” problems like dog bites, street light outages or similarly urgent issues.

The outage also extends to downtown landlines and debit machines at stores  and banks.

Three radio stations – Country 105, AM 770 and Q 107 – are housed in Shaw  Court and were tossed off-air.

“This thing was major,” said Garry McKenzie, regional general manager for  Corus Entertainment. “It was big and took everybody down.”

Engineers scrambled to turn listeners onto feeds from sister stations in  Edmonton.

Radio celebrity Dave Rutherford was amongst the evacuees.

“I was thinking it was one of those rolling blackout deals,” Rutherford said.  “Turns out, maybe not.”

Shaw employees were directed to a nearby park where they were told a problem  with a generator set off the fire suppression system. Staff were also told to go  home and that they would not be able to access the company parkade.

While most employees attributed the speedy evacuation to regular rehearsals,  a few snags were reported.

“When the fire alarms started to go off there was a bit of concern,” said  Shaw employee Colin Morrison. “None of our emergency lighting went back on.”

Nearby businesses were also affected.

Pub owner James Buchanan said an outage crashed debit and credit machines  during the lunch-hour rush.

Service was bogged down as customers were forced to pay in cash or leave  credit card imprints.

“What a massive waste of time,” said the frustrated restauranteer. “It’s  going to make cashing out at the end of the night a pain in the ass.”

Calgary EMS say they are not treating any patients.

Downtown roads are closed to traffic

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Canada Electrical Failure Sparks $630,000 Fire

Winnipeg, MB, Canada – A fire that destroyed two buildings in Winnipeg’s Exchange District Thursday morning was caused by an electrical failure in a music store, officials say.

The fire started around 9:30 a.m. CT Thursday shrouding the area around Notre Dame Avenue and Albert Street in smoke.

The fire was ultimately contained to a building in the 100 block of Albert Street. The building was home to two business, the music store and a restaurant.

Officials said Friday the damage was extensive and the total loss was estimated at $630,000. It included the business block and an old home.

Demolition crews tore down what remained of the buildings, for safety reasons, on Thursday after the fire was out.

The office of the fire commissioner and the city’s arson strike force investigated and determined the cause of the fire was accidental.

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Company Fined $100K after Electrocution

March 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Toronto, Canada – Toronto area plumbing firm fined $100,000 after construction worker killed

The Ontario Ministry of Labour announced last week that New Water Plumbing Inc. north of Toronto was fined $100,000 by an Ontario justice of the peace in connection with the electrocution of a worker in 2009.

The firm pleaded guilty to violating Ontario Regulation 851, Section 45 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

On December 23, 2009, two workers from New Water Plumbing were in the mechanical room of a condo tower in Toronto. They had taken a large exhaust fan out of its housing. As the workers were moving the fan, a light fixture they had swung out of the way swung back and hit the fan. Part of the light fixture was damaged, allowing its electrical charge to contact the fan. The worker who was holding the fan at the time was electrocuted and died.

New Water Plumbing, which is based in the Thornhill neighbourhood in the town of Markham, was fined for failing to ensure that the fan was lifted, carried or moved in a way that would not endanger a worker.

Story via Daily Commercial News

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2 Companies & Individual Face Charges After Worker Electricutions

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Edmonton, Canada – Charges have been laid in a workplace accident that killed two men in 2009.

Damien McEwen, 27, and Jason Banks, 32, were electrocuted when equipment they were using touched an overhead power line at the Penn West gas plant site, about three kilometres west of Edmonton, on Jan. 29, 2009.

Two companies, Proflo Production Separators Ltd. and TY2K Consulting Ltd., and an individual, Eric Spuehler, are facing charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Code.

The charges allege failing to ensure the health and safety of a worker at a work site, failing to prepare a report of the results of a hazard assessment, and failing to ensure that the hazard assessment is repeated at reasonably practicable intervals to prevent the development of unsafe and unhealthy working conditions.

Charges are laid for each of the two workers who died. The first court date is slated for March 23 at Stony Plain Provincial Court.

The victim have previously been described as experienced oil-and-gas workers.

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Note:  Proper electrical safety training is not only required, but it must be repeated at intervals, especially if its a task that the worker seldom does.  Improper clearance of equipment with overhead lines is a common electrical accident and is something that should have annual training.

Worker at Wal-Mart Electrocuted

January 8, 2011 Leave a comment


The father of a New Brunswick teenager killed while working at a Wal-Mart in Grand Falls on Jan. 6 said he wants to know exactly what happened to his son.

Police suspect that Patrick Desjardins, 17, was electrocuted while using a buffing machine to clean the floor of the store’s garage last Wednesday. Police say it appears there was an electrical defect in the cord of machine.

The teen was discovered by another staff member and rushed to the Grand Falls General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Patrick’s father, Fabien Desjardins, said he refuses to call his son’s death a workplace accident and wants more information on what happened.

“We’re not calling this an accident,” Desjardins said in an interview with CBC. “If you’re driving down the road and you hit a moose, that’s an accident. If a drunk driver hits you and kills your whole family, that’s not an accident; that’s negligence.

“What happened to Patrick, as far as we’re concerned, I’m calling it negligence.”

WorkSafe NB is investigating what might have caused the teen’s death.

It’s also looking into the manner in which Wal-Mart taught its employees about risks in the workplace and how they should be handled.

Reforms sought

Desjardins said he hopes WorkSafe NB’s findings will mean changes in company policies to protect workers.

For now, he said, his son’s death should send a message to young people on the job.

“If there is any teenagers out there that is working and sees something that is not safe, report it to the manager,” Desjardins said. “And if nothing is done, you can call WorkSafe New Brunswick or tell your parents.

“Do not keep working if you think it is not safe. Stop and say, ‘I will not work with a piece of equipment, or whatever it is, until it is repaired. Trust me if you lose your job, you can fight this and get your job back because the life of a child is worth more than life itself.”

WorkSafe NB said the investigation into Patrick’s death could take three to four months.

Desjardins criticized the agency for not calling the family with the results of his son’s autopsy.

Desjardins said that when he inquired about the results, a WorkSafe NB official told him that they thought somebody else had already called.

“I said, ‘Even if there were 10 people that called us to tell us that our son had passed of electrocution before it was put on the media, it would have been better than zero calling us’.”

Desjardins was an only child who was working at the Wal-Mart to save money to pay for college because he wanted to become a forest ranger.

His father said the loss has been devastating.

“I did not only lose a son; I lost a best friend,” Desjardins said.

Update:  WorkSafeNB is now investigating, but early indications are that a faulty cord on the machine may have caused the accident.

GRAND FALLS, New Brunswick, Canada – An autopsy has confirmed a 17-year-old youth died after being electrocuted while buffing a floor during his shift at Wal-Mart. Patrick Desjardins was found in the automotive department at the store in Grand Falls on Wednesday. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at the local hospital.

A funeral for Desjardins will be held Monday in Grand Falls

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Electrical Accidents and Electrical Safety are not just for Electricians.  Anyone working on or near electrical equipment at 50v or higher should have electrical safety training.

2 Men Killed in Electrical Accident in Edmonton, Canada

December 3, 2010 Leave a comment

EDMONTON, ALBERTA, CANADA – The sudden deaths of two men who were electrocuted on a farm near Ellerslie Road and Meridian Street is highlighting a gap in coverage under Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The men were found dead by police and paramedics responding to a 911 call around 3:45 a.m. Thursday. It appears they were electrocuted when a portable auger touched an overhead power line.

Police initially said the deaths would be investigated by Alberta Occupational Health and Safety. Investigators from the OHS went to the scene, but left after determing the men were working on a farm.  Provincial regulations don’t apply because in Alberta, most operations directly or indirectly related to farming and ranching are exempt.

There’s been a lot of talk in Alberta about extending Occupational Health and Safety regulations to farms but no action has been taken. Farming and ranching are also exempt from the Workers’ Compensation Act and WCB coverage for disability and insurance is not mandatory for farm and ranch workers.

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Alberta Pursuing Workplace Safety Fines Including Past ElectricalSafety Violations

November 6, 2010 Leave a comment

CALGARY, CANADA – Alberta companies haven’t paid at least $1.7 million in fines levied for worker deaths or injuries, but the provincial government has — for the first time in recent memory — gone after one of the convicted employers.

Employment Minister Thomas Lukaszuk vowed Friday the government will crack down on every delinquent company.

“We will be going after every single one of them,” Lukaszuk said.

On Friday, the provincial government announced a number of steps to strengthen workplace safety enforcement. It will hire eight more safety officers, create a new secretariat to deal with occupational disease, release a safe driving guide, and require that government officials consult victims’ families during the creative sentencing process.

These actions follow a Herald investigation of workplace deaths in Alberta, which found the province hasn’t systematically tracked whether convicted companies have paid court-imposed penalties.

The figure of $1.7 million in outstanding fines, provided to the Herald last month, covers only part of the past decade.

Neither Alberta Justice nor Alberta Employment would disclose what fforts have been made to collect on these overdue fines, which involve at least 14 employers.

However, the province maintains the majority of fines have been collected.

In an interview, Lukaszuk noted some fined companies have declared bankruptcy, which he called a success story because, “that means that unsafe workplace no longer exists.”

Companies that are still in business, but have not paid, will have their day in court to explain why, the minister added.

“If we were to be lenient and not enforce judgments, the entire premise of the system would collapse,” Lukaszuk said.

On Thursday, the Alberta government took a significant step toward tougher fine enforcement, laying charges against Steve’s Oilfield Services (Edson) Ltd.

The province alleges the company failed to pay a $95,000 creative sentence fine it was given in 2007 in connection to a worker injury four years earlier.

According to an agreed statement of facts from the company’s original conviction, safety features on a forklift were disabled by an unknown person.

This eventually led to employee Martin Fossheim, then 18 years old, being pinned under the machine and suffering severe injuries, including a fractured skull and punctured lung.

Lukaszuk said the company will appear in court next week.

No one from the firm was available for comment.

Reached in Edson on Friday, Fossheim, now 25, holds no ill will toward his former employer and doesn’t think the company should have been fined.

He worked for Steve’s Oilfield Services for three years after his injury.

Fossheim said his former employer is “someone who takes good care of his employees” and he learned numerous skills on the job that have helped him open his own oilfield company.

But other cases of unpaid workplace safety fines span the province and have frustrated families of fallen workers.

Calgarian Timothy Hamilton was killed on the job 11 years ago, electrocuted as he erected a tent for a corporate Stampede party.

The company convicted of failing to protect the worker’s safety never paid its $100,000 fine, court documents show. Fiesta Party Rentals was struck from the province’s corporate registry in 2003.

“To be able to declare bankruptcy and walk away is wrong,” said Julie Hamilton, Timothy’s mother.

“They have to be paid so that other people will smarten up and pay attention to the rules.”

Former provincial Crown lawyer Tamara Trull said the fact the government is finally pursuing unpaid fines is a positive step.

Trull, who prosecuted occupational safety offences from 2002 to 2007, revealed this summer she had raised concerns about uncollected penalties in 2006. However, she said her call for tougher fine enforcement went unheeded.

“It should have been done sooner, but it’s good that they’re doing it,” Trull said.

“If (fines) are not followed up on, we’re not going to have proper deterrence in the province. Prosecutions aren’t going to be taken seriously.”

Alberta Justice spokesman David Dear said the government is also improving its system for tracking workplace penalties. New electronic measures are expected to be in place early next year.

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