Company fined $110,000 after worker electrocuted to death

shock_hazardEnerquest Services Inc., a Kingsville-based company specializing in power generation, controls and energy systems, was found guilty and fined $110,000 after a worker was electrocuted while working on a solar farm construction project in Sunderland.

Enerquest contracted to provide electrical switchgear equipment, controls and communication equipment in a prefabricated electrical building (or E-House) to the solar farm under construction at 1690 Concession Road 7, in Sunderland. The electrical equipment and E-House involved in the fatality were manufactured and supplied by Enerquest to the project. Electrical connection of the E-House to the solar farm was to take place on a later date.

On December 9, 2013, the constructor notified Enerquest of some deficiencies in the E-House and Enerquest directed two workers to attend and make the necessary corrections.  On December 12, 2013, the two workers attended by van and plugged in a generator to an outside receptacle on the north side of the building in order to provide power to the E-House, its interior receptacles and operate its emergency lighting system. The generator plug-in is a design feature of this building to allow an alternate means of power to be used during the commissioning phase of the system. In addition to lighting, the workers required power for power tools to make the necessary repairs.

Assigned Tasks

One worker entered the building and turned the lights on at an electrical panel, while his co-worker unloaded tools from the van. The two workers then reviewed their list of assigned tasks and worked until approximately 6 p.m. when they left the site for the day.

On December 13, 2013, the workers returned for a second day on site. They restarted the generator and tools were brought back into the E-House. The two workers began performing their assigned tasks.

One of the workers was installing a door interlock in a high voltage section of the building and accidentally came into contact with and received an electrical shock from a transformer. He was found by the co-worker and transported to hospital in Port Perry, then pronounced deceased.

Exposed Parts

On both days the workers worked on or near energized exposed parts of electrical equipment or of an electrical installation or conductor. The power supply to the electrical equipment, installation or conductor was not disconnected, locked out of service and tagged in accordance with section 190 of Ontario Reg. 213/ 91.

Enerquest as an employer failed to establish and implement written measures and procedures for complying with the regulation to ensure that workers were adequately protected from electrical shock and burns, and failed to make a copy of the written measures and procedures available to every worker on the project.

The company was found guilty and was fined $110,000 by Justice of the Peace Gerald Ryan in Whitby court on June 7, 2016.

In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime. – CINEWS

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