OHS Canada Magazine

City of London fined $70,000 after worker struck by exploding cap

Employer failed to take reasonable precaution: ruling


October 16, 2020
By OHS Canada
OHS Canada
Categories
Compliance & Enforcement
Health & Safety

The City of London was fined $70,000 on Oct. 8, following an incident that resulted in a critical workplace injury two years prior.

On Oct. 16, 2018, a worker was injured when a cap on a drain pipe shot off and struck the worker, resulting in critical injuries.

Justice of the Peace Kristine Diaz ruled the employer failed to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that the internal pressure of the drain pipeline was released, before the mechanical joint-end cap was removed and/or loosened.

A crew from the Water Operations Division of the City of London was instructed by their supervisor to prepare the water drain chamber located in a ravine near 517 Fanshawe Park Road. Part of the task was removing a mechanical joint cap assembly installed at the end of a water line drain pipeline.

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One of the workers was inside the water drain chamber attempting to remove the mechanical joint cap assembly covering the end of the drain pipeline. To do so, the worker began loosening the top two bolts of the mechanical joint cap assembly, according to a court bulletin.

While doing so, the worker noticed water spraying as well as a hissing sound coming from the mechanical joint cap assembly. This indicated that pressure had built up inside the drain pipeline.

The worker stepped back slightly from the joint cap assembly. As the worker was communicating with co-workers, the pressurized joint cap assembly shot off from the drain pipeline and struck the worker, causing critical injuries.

The investigation that followed determined that the Corporation of the City of London committed the offence of failing, as an employer, to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker, which is an offence under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Specifically, the employer failed to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that the internal pressure of the drain pipeline was released before the mechanical joint end cap was removed and/or loosened. This was contrary to section 25(2)(h) of the act.