OHS Canada Magazine

N.W.T. power corporation says it has improved safety systems after worker’s death

Avatar photo

June 27, 2023
By The Canadian Press

Health & Safety northwest territories

By Emily Blake

The Northwest Territories Power Corporation says it has improved its safety systems and processes since a worker died in 2021.

Michael Chinna was struck in the head and neck by a column of ice outside an entrance at the Jackfish Lake diesel plant in Yellowknife on March 5 that year.

He was taken to hospital in Yellowknife then sent to Edmonton, where he died in hospital on March 14.

In a statement, the power corporation says it plans to share what is has learned with other organizations in the territory.

An investigation by the territorial Workers Safety and Compensation Commission found the power corporation lacked reporting and followup on overhead snow and ice and lacked safe work practices for overhead doors.


The investigation also found the corporation did not follow up on past hazards, as it recorded a similar case in 2014 when a worker was nearly struck by a falling block of ice.

It added the corporation failed to identify and address unsafe snow and ice hazards during its inspection process and did not have experienced workers on site who might have warned about safety hazards posed by the block of ice.

The commission filed 11 charges under the territory’s Safety Act against the power corporation in February 2022.

The corporation pleaded guilty to one charge on Friday and was fined $200,000. The remaining 10 charges were stayed.

Chinna, 39, was in the fourth year of his apprenticeship as a power systems electrician. Court documents indicate he was wearing required personal protective equipment, including a hard hat and safety goggles, at the time of his fatal injury.

“We offer our condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Michael Chinna,” the power corporation said in a statement.

“NTPC was deeply saddened by the loss of Michael Chinna. He was an important person in our organization and was committed to working safely.

“We remain committed to protecting all of our workers from all of the hazards at all of our work sites, including falling ice and snow.”


Stories continue below