LONDON, ON – Entegrus Powerlines Inc., a Chatham electrical utility contractor, pleaded guilty and has been fined $70,000 after two workers received electrical burns.
On August 11, 2016, a six-person crew was changing a switch on a utility pole on Head Street North 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.
Entegrus Powerlines Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to take the reasonable safety precaution of ensuring that a dedicated observer, who was competent in the task being performed, was in place with no other duties but to monitor the work continuously.
The company was fined $70,000 in London court by Justice of the Peace Anna Hampson on August 31, 2017.
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.
– Ministry of Labour