Entegrus Powerlines fined $70,000 after workers injured
September 6, 2017 – Entegrus Powerlines Inc., a Chatham, Ont., electrical utility contractor, has been fined $70,000 after two workers received electrical burns, reports Ontario’s Ministry of Labour.
In August 2016, a six-person crew was changing a switch on a utility pole in Strathroy, Ont. The final steps for installing the new switch involved forming thick copper leads that would attach the switch to live 16,000-kV powerlines. The safety cover on the lines was removed during this time and not reinstalled.
Additionally, none of the crew members were assigned to act as a dedicated observer — someone competent in the work being performed who has no other duties but to continuously monitor the situation.
While workers were forming the fifth lead needed to install the switch, the end of the lead made contact with the live powerline. An energy surge went through the lead, switch and utility pole. Two of the workers were in contact with the pole at the time and suffered electrical burns.
Entegrus Powerlines Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to take the reasonable safety precaution of ensuring that a dedicated observer, who was competent in the task being performed, was in place. The court also imposed a 25% victim fine surcharge.
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