Ottawa – Hydro Ottawa Ltd. has been found guilty and fined $225,000 following a trial after one worker was killed and two others suffered injuries.
On March 22, 2012, workers employed by a sub-contractor were engaged in the installation of new hydro poles and wires under existing energized lines on Moodie Drive south of Fallowfield Road in Ottawa. Three workers were excavating a hole when the boom of a work vehicle came within three metres (9.84 feet) of a power line which was located about 20 feet (6.09 metres) above the hole. All three workers received electrical shocks, with one worker succumbing to the injuries at the hospital. The two other workers sought medical attention at the hospital and did not suffer permanent physical injuries. A Ministry of Labour investigation followed the incident.
After a trial, Hydro Ottawa Ltd. was found guilty, as a constructor, of violating three sections of the Constructions Projects Regulation. These were:
- failing to ensure the boom of a vehicle was not brought within three metres of an energized overhead conductor of 750 or more volts;
- failing to ensure a competent worker designated as a signaler was stationed so as to be in full view of an operator and had a clear view of the electrical conductor and of the vehicle, to warn the operator every time any part of the vehicle or other equipment may approach the minimum distance; and
- failing to take every reasonable precaution to prevent hazards to workers from energized electrical equipment, installation and conductors.
The company was fined $225,000 in provincial court by Justice of the Peace Brian Mackey on March 29, 2016.
On November 12, 2013, a sub-contractor and co-defendant, Digsafe Inc. of Ottawa, pleaded guilty in relation to the incident and was ordered by Justice of the Peace John Balkwill to pay a fine of $125,000.
Source: Ontario Ministry of Labour