Arc flash burns 3 workers, company and supervisor fined

System was in fact energized during work

O'Connor Electric of Kitchener, Ont. has been fined $55,000 and Mike Walker, supervisor, has been fined $5,000 after three workers received burns from an arc flash while working on an energized electrical system. The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act.


On Jan. 11, 2018, a six-person crew, including Walker, were working in an electrical room to upgrade the electrical services. The upgrade was to shut down the existing service, install a new switch (disconnect) and new electrical wiring.


Three workers prepared the service to receive the disconnect.


While workers installed the disconnect, an arc flash occurred, which meant the system was in fact energized. Three workers received electrical burns.


O'Connor Electric failed as an employer to establish and implement written measures and procedures as prescribed in Section 190(2)(a) of Ontario Regulation 213/91 (for Construction Projects).


Section 190(2)(a) of the regulation provides that an employer shall establish and implement written measures and procedures to ensure that workers are adequately protected from electrical shock and burn.


Supervisor Mike Walker failed as an supervisor to ensure workers had followed Section 190(4) of the Regulation for Construction Projects.


Section 190(4) requires "the power supply to the electrical equipment, installation or conductor shall be disconnected, locked out of service and tagged ... before the work begins, and kept disconnected, locked out of service and tagged while the work continues."


Source: Ontario Ministry of Labour