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Electrical Shock to Worker Results in $80,000 Fine

Court Bulletin

Electrical Shock to Worker Results in $80,000 Fine

Ministry of Labour

Convicted: CBRE Limited, 145 King Street West, Toronto, Ontario.

Location of Workplace: Roberta Bondar Place, an office building at 70 Foster Drive, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

Description of Offence: A worker was shocked by electricity while changing a 347-volt fluorescent lighting ballast. The employer failed to provide adequate information, instruction or supervision to the worker. Power to the electrical equipment was not locked out.

Date of Offence: March 31, 2015.

Date of Conviction:  April 13, 2018.

Date of Sentence: June 25, 2018.

Penalty Imposed:

  • Following a trial, Justice of the Peace Michael G. Kitlar fined CBRE Limited a total of $80,000 on two counts; Crown Counsel Terry Wong.
  • The court also 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.

Background:

  • On March 31, 2015, two mobile maintenance technicians employed by CBRE Limited were tasked with changing a ballast in the cafeteria at Roberta Bondar Place in downtown Sault Ste Marie.
  • The task had been brought to their attention by CBRE's work order, which stated that a light was out in the area.
  • After receiving the work order, the technicians went to the electrical room to lock out power to the electrical equipment in the area.
  • Believing they had successfully locked out the power, the technicians left the electrical room and went to the cafeteria to change the ballast.
  • Once at the cafeteria, one of the technicians climbed up a ladder to get to the ballast, as it was located in the ceiling. The technician was attempting to change the ballast and received an  electrical shock.
  • The technician climbed down and was brought to Sault Area Hospital and was treated for critical injuries.
  • The incident constituted an offence under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), section 25(2)(a), which requires that an employer provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker. 
  • The incident also constituted an offence under the OHSA, section 25(1)(c), which provides that an employer shall ensure that the prescribed measures and procedures are complied with. Section 42(1) of the Ontario Regulation 851(Industrial Establishments) prescribes that the power supply to electrical installations, equipment or conductors shall be disconnected, locked out of service and tagged before any work is done, and while it is being done, on or near live exposed parts of the installations, equipment or conductors.

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