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Westario Power fined $110,000 after worker electrocuted


Westario Power Inc., a Walkerton 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 that 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 that the substation did not have a current single line diagram to assist workers in developing a work plan, identifying hazards and fully de-energizing 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.

The fine was imposed by Justice George Brophy. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.