Worker electrocuted, Westario Power fined $110,000
April 19, 2012 – Westario Power Inc., a Walkerton, Ont., power distribution company, was fined $110,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was killed.
On September 21, 2010, there was a severe thunderstorm in the Port Elgin area, and the power went out at the company’s Port Elgin substation. Workers went to the substation to restore power. They attempted to de-energize its equipment so they could replace a damaged insulator. However, some of the equipment was still energized when a worker started replacing the insulator. The worker came into contact with the energized equipment and was electrocuted.
A Ministry of Labour investigation found the substation did not have a current single-line diagram to help workers develop a work plan, identify hazards and fully de-energize the equipment. As a consequence, the workers did not have the information they needed to perform their work in a safe manner.
Westario Power Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to provide the information, instruction and supervision required to protect the health and safety of a worker. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25% fine surcharge, which is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.