Chatham-Kent’s electrical utility contractor, Entegrus, pleaded guilty and has been fined $70,000 after two workers received electrical burns.
According to an Ontario Ministry of Labour Court Bulletin dated Aug. 31, on Aug. 11 of last year, a six-person crew was changing a switch on a utility pole in Strathroy. The final steps for installing the new switch involved forming thick copper leads that would attach the switch to live 16,000-kV power lines. The safety cover on the lines was removed during this time and not reinstalled. Additionally, none of the crew members were assigned to act as a dedicated observer – someone competent in the work being performed who has no other duties but to continuously monitor the situation.
While workers were forming the fifth of the six leads needed to install the switch, the end of the lead made contact with the live power line. An energy surge went through the lead, switch and utility pole. Two of the workers were in contact with the pole at the time and suffered electrical burns.
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.