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Toronto Hydro Fined 80K after workers injured


September 30, 2010
By Anthony Capkun

Toronto Hydro-Electric System Ltd. (Toronto Hydro) was fined $80,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health & Safety Act that caused injuries to two workers.

On January 29, 2009, workers were cutting and splicing underground
cables at Ossington Ave. and Dupont St. in Toronto. In an underground
chamber at the site, a worker cut into a live high-voltage cable, which
caused an electrical flash. The worker suffered first- and second-degree
burns. Another worker in the chamber suffered flash burns.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found the worker who cut the live
cable thought it had been deenergized. The worker also thought the cable
had been ‘speared’ to confirm it was deenergized. (Spearing is the
final step before cutting and splicing a high-voltage underground cable.
A spearing tool has a long, grounded blade that cuts through a cable’s
conductors. If a cable is energized, spearing it will short out its
conductors.) However, the cable had not been speared before workers cut
into it, contrary to Rule UG601(5) of the Toronto Hydro Rule Book.

Toronto Hydro pleaded guilty to failing to take the reasonable
precaution of complying with Rule UG601(5) of the Rule Book to prevent
hazards to workers from energized electrical equipment, installations
and conductors.

In addition to the fine, the court 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.