Energized eHouse electrocutes Sunderland solar farm worker
By Anthony Capkun
June 12, 2016 – An Ontario-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 Services Inc. (Harrow, Ont.) contracted to provide electrical switchgear equipment, controls and communication equipment in a prefab electrical building (eHouse) to the solar farm under construction at 1690 Concession Road 7 in Sunderland. Electrical connection of the eHouse to the solar farm was to take place on a later date.
Ontario’s Ministry of Labour reports the solar farm constructor notified Enerquest of some deficiencies in the eHouse in December 2013, so Enerquest directed two workers to attend and make the necessary corrections. The workers attended by van and plugged in a generator to an outside receptacle on the north side of the building to provide power to the eHouse, 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.
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 about 6 pm when they left the site for the day.
The workers then returned for a second day of work. They re-started the generator and tools were brought back into the eHouse. The two began performing their assigned tasks.
It is important to note that, 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.
One of the workers was installing a door interlock in a high-voltage section of the building when he accidentally came into contact with a transformer, and was electrocuted. He was found by his co-worker and transported to hospital in Port Perry, where he was pronounced deceased.
Enerquest was found to have failed to establish and implement written measures and procedures for complying with the regulation to ensure 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.
As such, the company was found guilty and fined $110,000 plus a 25% victim fine surcharge.