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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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