Ideal Drain fined $110K for electrocution death of worker

Employee working alone on a machine had not shut off the power.

LONDON, Ont. — Ideal Drain Tile Ltd., a manufacturer of high density polyethylene pipe, pleaded guilty to a workplace safety violation that led to the electrocution death of a worker and was fined $110,000.

According to evidence presented at provincial court, on July 19, 2013, an employee working at the company’s plant in Thorndale, Ont., north of London, was working alone on a machine from an elevated forklift platform.

There was no operator at the controls of the forklift as required, and the machine the worker was working on was not powered off.

A plug and thermocouple had been removed from the machine and the plug disassembled. With the parts removed, the prongs were exposed. The thermocouple would have been measuring the air temperature when removed, and the air temperature would have been below the set point.

This triggered the machine’s control panel to send power to the plug to heat the machine back to the set-point temperature.

The worker was electrocuted, and found unresponsive on the elevated platform with the exposed and burnt prongs of the plug in hand.

Although provided with generic lockout training, the worker had not been trained on how to specifically lock out the machine being worked on.

Ideal Drain pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the controls of the forklift were attended to and operated by another worker while a worker was on the elevated platform.

The company was fined $110,000 and will pay a 25% victim fine surcharge credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

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