Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

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

Story via

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.

Story via

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.

Story via

Canadian Man Killed in Electrical Accident When Boom Contacts Power Line

LYNDHURST, ONTARIO CANADA – An excavating company has been issued a series of orders following a fatal workplace accident in Lyndhurst, Ontario.

On the afternoon of May 18, an employee of Brockville, Ontario-based Ken Miller Excavating was assisting boom trucks that were delivering concrete sections for storm sewers when the accident occurred, says Ministry of Labour (MoL) spokesman Bruce Skeaff. “The boom of one of the trucks came into contact with overhead live wires and this worker was electrocuted,” Skeaff says. “The circumstances of how this transpired, we don’t know, and that’s what we’re investigating.”

The worker, Jamie Lascelle, was taken to Kingston General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Skeaff says that Ken Miller Excavating was issued a series of orders requiring the company to provide documents related to: its health and safety policy and program, procedures specific to work in close proximity to electrical conductors, its emergency plan, safety training of workers and workplace safety procedures. A stop work order was also issued on a piece of equipment, a 10-tonne off-loader, and the machine is to be inspected to determine whether it can handle its rated capacity, Skeaff confirms.

The MoL also issued three orders to another company, Kingston-based Anchor Concrete Products Ltd, requiring documents related to training and its health and safety policy and program. Furthermore, both Ken Miller Excavating and Anchor Concrete Products were ordered to provide a written report of the circumstances of the occurrence to the ministry and any applicable union by May 20.

Neither company could be reached for comment by press time.

The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) in Mississauga, Ontario says that fatal accidents involving equipment contacting overhead power lines is not uncommon in the province. “Fatalities involving power lines account for 50 per cent of all electrocutions in Ontario in the past eight years,” the safety authority says in safety alert issued last May.

Story Via OHS Canada

Canadian Man Fatally Electrocuted While Operating a Crane

Canada Announces Standard for Electric Utility Workplace Electrical Safety

OTTAWA, CANADAULC Standards, an accredited standards development organization, announced today the publication of CAN/ULC-S801-10, Standard for Electric Utility Workplace Electrical Safety for Generation, Transmission and Distribution. The standard applies to workers who deal with the construction, operation, maintenance and replacement of electric utility systems that are used to generate, transform, transmit, distribute and deliver electrical power or energy to consumer services or their equivalents.

Without proper safety precautions, live working (high voltage) may present potential safety risks to workers and the general public. There are more than 600 electrical related accidents a year in Canada, and CAN/ULC-S801-10 gives electric utilities a foundation for safe working environments for their employees across Canada. CAN/ULC-S801-10 provides a complete safety guide addressing numerous electric utility workplace safety concerns, such as:

The development of this Standard was supported through the funding of the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA).

Story Via PR Newswire

Honeywell Contractor Injured in Electrical Panel Accident in Canada