OHS Canada Magazine

Toronto Hydro fined $200K after worker killed while working underground


October 14, 2022
By OHS Canada

Health & Safety Fines ontario Toronto Hydro Worker Fatality

Toronto Hydro has been fined $200,000 after one of its workers was killed while working in an underground vault.

The company pled guilty, and a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge was also tacked on.

What happened

On the day of the incident a six-person crew from Toronto Hydro was sent to a worksite to perform work in an underground electrical vault. The work was limited to disconnecting energized secondary cables to a transformer in order for the transformer to be removed and replaced later by a different crew.

When the crew arrived, they began work by completing a Work Site Risk Assessment Form and discussing the contents of the form, including who would perform the various elements of the task. The roles and responsibilities of each crew member were discussed and agreed to, with each member then getting into position.

Stationed above ground, one crew member passed equipment below into the vault. A second crew member received the tools and, as needed, passed tools within the vault.

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With help from the crew, an apprentice and another worker manually disconnected the secondary cables connected to the transformer while wearing insulated rubber gloves. Together, the crew completed the work of disconnecting the secondary cables.

After completing the task, a reading was taken indicating that the current on the cables was too high. To reduce the current, the crew had to perform a different task involving the connection of a previously removed tie-cable to another service cable.

During the connection of the final cable, the worker was still wearing insulated rubber gloves while securing a bolt with a box wrench and holding an impact gun in the other hand.

At this time, the worker came into contact with low voltage electricity. The electrical shock injured the worker and caused the worker to fall.

The worker was taken to hospital but succumbed later to their injuries sustained as a result of the electrical contact.

Violations

Section 183 of Construction Projects, Ontario Reg 213/91 requires every reasonable precaution be taken to prevent hazards to workers from energized electrical equipment, installations and conductors, the province said.

Accordingly, the defendant failed to ensure that measures and procedures prescribed by section 183 of the regulation were carried out in the workplace, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

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