Electrocuted machine tech costs Ideal Drain Tile $110K
By Anthony Capkun
January 19, 2016 – Ideal Drain Tile Ltd.—a manufacturer of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe—pleaded guilty and was fined $110,000 in the death of a worker who was working alone and received a fatal electrical shock.
Ontario’s Ministry of Labour reports that, in July 2013, a worker at the company’s premises in Thorndale was working alone on a machine from an elevated forklift platform. There was no operator at the controls of the forklift, and the machine being worked on was not powered off.
A plug and thermocouple had been removed from the machine and the plug had been disassembled. With the plug’s parts removed, the prongs of the plug were exposed. The thermocouple would have been measuring the air temperature when removed, and the air temperature would have been below the set-point. This triggered the machine’s control panel to send power to the plug to heat the machine back to the set-point temperature.
The worker was found unresponsive on the elevated platform with the exposed and burnt prongs of the plug in hand. The cause of death was electrocution.
The technician had been provided generic lockout training but had not been trained on how to specifically lock out the machine he was working on.
Ideal Drain Tile Ltd. pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to comply with the provisions of Ontario Regulation 851/90 (Industrial Establishments Regulation); specifically, failing to ensure that the controls of the forklift were attended to and operated by another worker while a worker was on the elevated platform.
In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25% victim fine surcharge, which is credited to a provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.