Lafarge fined $115K after contract worker suffers electrical shock
By Anthony Capkun
October 12, 2017 – Lafarge Canada Inc. was fined $115,000 after pleading guilty to the offence of failing as an employer to ensure the power supply to an electrical installation, equipment or conductors was disconnected, locked out of service and tagged before any work was done and while being done on or near live exposed parts of the installations, equipment or conductors.*
This penalty follows an incident in March 2016 at the company’s cement plant in Bath, Ont., where a contract worker received an electrical shock after coming into direct contact with 47,500 volts of electricity.
Lafarge Canada Inc. hires contract workers every year as part of a preventive maintenance activity to manually clean electrostatic precipitators (ESPs) at its Bath plant. The ESPs are divided into two sections—North and South—and their power supply is normally disconnected and locked out of service to protect the contract workers from shock.
In March 2016, a contract worker was assigned to clean insulators in the North ESP section, but while the power supply to the North ESPs had been de-energized, locked out of service and tagged, the power supply to the South ESP section had not.
To clean an insulator, the worker opened an access panel to a section of the ESP that happened to energize both the North and South sides. The worker received an electrical shock and fell to the ground. Thankfully, he was able to speak to other workers. He was taken to hospital for treatment and, subsequently, released.
The court also imposed a 25% victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act, which is credited to a provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
* Contrary to Ontario Regulation 851/90 (Industrial Establishments Regulation) and the Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA).