6\Y4PZZPVU! “To promote, strengthen and represent the electrical industry in Ontario.” Dialogue A Publication of the Ontario Electrical League Issue 39-4 • December 2017
Tal Trees Lends a Helping Hand in Florida’s Restoration Post Irma
6XEPLWWHGE\6SDUN3RZHU&RUS S park Power Corp is proud to share that our Tal Trees Power Services team from Belleville, Ontario was one ofmanyCanadian crews that supported Florida’s restoration post Hurricane Irma. There were many requests for assistance and our team immediately responded. The Tal Trees crew of eight linemen and five bucket trucks began their journey early on September 9, arriving in St Petersburg, Florida and working in excess of 16-hour days throughout the restoration efforts. “We know how important electricity is – it pretty much drives everything we rely on day- to-day,” says Jason Sparaga, Co-Founder and CEO of Spark Power Corp. “We’ve heard from partners that approximately 4.4 million homes and businesses – or 15 million people – were without electricity across Florida,” 6XEPLWWHGE\:6,% B uilding on a 6.2 per cent reduction to the average premium rate in 2017, the WSIB will be offering a 3.3 per cent reduction to the average premium rate for 2018. This brings the total cumulative reduction to the average premium rate since 2016 to 9.3 per cent. TO ENSURE DELIVERY, MAINTAIN MEMBERSHIP! 38%/,&$7,2160$,/$*5((0(171R
,KP[VYPHS-VJ\Z! HEALTH AND SAFETY
1 Restoration after Hurricane by a Team from Belleville 1 WSIB Rate Reductions in 2018 3 Message from the Chair 3 Message from the President 4 What Joining a Safety Group can do for You 6 The Grenfell Fire: When Regulations are not Followed or Enforced 11 Exercising Due Diligence with PPE Testing 13 Tackling the Electrical Black Market 14 Workplace Offences of the Olfactory Senses 16 Navigating Commercial Leasing 16 WSIB Launches a Workplace Health and Safety Tool 17 League of Champions Develops a Safety Initiative 18 A Driver’s Guide to Cold Weather Conditions 19 Building Near Power Lines 20 Members’ News 23 OEL Welcomes New Member Services Manager
which recently weathered a historic storm, and must now cope with an unprecedented loss of power. “We’re proud to offer our support,” adds Sparaga. Irma, which stretched 650 miles from east to
WSIB Offers Further Premium Rate Reductions In 2018
The reduction will bring the average 2018 premium rate down to $2.35 for every $100 of insurable earnings from $2.43 in 2017. Rate Group 704, which represents many Electrical and Incidental Construction Services employers, will see a reduction of 7.4 per cent on their 2018 premium rate. This builds on a reduction of 7.9 per cent for this rate group in 2017 compared to 2016. The WSIB is funded solely by premium revenue. So, when setting premium rates for 2018, we had to incorporate costs for legislation related to chronic mental stress (CMS).
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T his edition of Dialogue is about Health and Safety. I know… yadayadayada, heard it all before. Well, if that is how you feel, I feel sorry for you, not to mention our tax base who could possibly have to pay for your carelessness after you have injured yourself, or someone else! We all need to take a step back for a minute and seriously think about the work we do and the risks involved. You know we work with the “Silent Killer”, some of us every day. Have we trained enough? Do we have and use all the proper equipment and keep it well maintained and readily available? Complacency IS our enemy. We once had one of our electricians fall from an aluminum ladder to a concrete sidewalk after being shocked while repairing a 347-volt switch, which he elected to work on without testing first. His meter was 20 feet away, in the truck, which had a fiberglass ladder on top. I won’t go into his injuries, WSIB hassles or the loss of his time. But I do wonder, what was he thinking? Please ensure you talk with your people, and remind them that they are precious to their families and that you want them to remain well and uninjured. On another note, I was very impressed by the ESA Safety Awards held this past September in Mississauga. The recipient’s stories were heartwarming and it was a very positive boost to me. I felt privileged to attend. Lots of interesting things are going on at the OEL, and good news is pending on several fronts, but I hesitate to promise until some final details can be worked out. Congratulations to Walter Pamic on his appointment to the OCOT Board of Governors. Those of us who know Walter, know that he will be a driving force towards fairness, continuous improvement, and good governance. Check out our newly revised website soon, and thanks to our office staff who keep us well informed and are always ready to answer your questions. Going forward I wish you all a great season and BE SAFE!
W e are coming to the end of our 95th year celebration. This year we were excited to host our anniversary conference at White Oaks Resort in Niagara-on-the-Lake. We also celebrated our first anniversary at our new Provincial Office and held our Provincial Golf Day at the iconic Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville. “THIS MONTH WE WELCOME OUR NEW TEAM MEMBER, LAURIE RICHARDSON TO THE OEL COMMUNITY AS OUR MANAGER OF MEMBER SERVICES.” We have been involved in some key industry changes on the Rate Framework with WSIB. Our members made presentations to the Parliamentary committee on Bill 148 to ensure it includes the exemption of Saturday certifications. We also consulted on the Construction Lien Act by interviewing with reviewers, sent in written submissions, and worked alongside other stakeholders on recommendations. We attended several consultations on modernizing the apprenticeship system in Ontario and provided feedback to the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development on the process. This month we welcome our new teammember, Laurie Richardson to the OEL Community as our Manager of Member Services. 2018 is shaping up to be another exciting year for the OEL. Thank you for all your participation this year and we look forward to serving you in 2018.
Stephen Sell, President, OEL
Dale MacDonald, Chair OEL
ONTARIO ELECTRICAL LEAGUE
OUR MISSION: “To promote, strengthen and represent the electrical industry in Ontario.”
Board of Directors Chair: Dale MacDonald, Honey Electric Ltd. Past Chair: Dave Ackison, Ackison Electric 1st Vice Chair: Luke Bogdanovic, EPG Electric & Solar Contractors 2nd Vice Chair: Louie Violo, R&B Construction Services Inc. 3rd Vice Chair: Doug McGinley, JPR Electrical Services Inc. Licensed Electrical Contractors Dave Ackison, Ackison Electric Ron Bergeron, Bergeron Electric Ltd. Luke Bogdanovic, EPG Electric & Solar Contractors Dale MacDonald, Honey Electric Ltd. Doug McGinley, JPR Electrical Services Inc. Al Merlo, Merlo Electric Inc. Jack Sanders, Townsend Electric Glenn Sturdy, Sturdy Power Lines Ltd. Louie Violo, R&B Construction Services Inc.
Ontario Electrical League The Ontario Electrical League is a non-profit, provincial organization, dedicated to its Chapters, with over 2,200 members from the electrical industry. League members include electrical contractors, electricians, apprentices, electrical utilities, electrical generators, Hydro One Networks Inc., Electrical Safety Authority, electrical inspectors, electrical distributors, manufacturers, manufacturers’ representatives, consulting engineers, educators and service companies. The League’s role is to represent, communicate, educate and promote Ontario’s electrical industry through Chapter meetings, Dialogue magazine, the League’s website, conferences, seminars, trade shows, promotional programs and community activities.
Association Gord McBrien, Ontario Energy Network Utility Mike Goodwin, Entegrus Services Inc. Associate Diane Laranja, Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP League Staff: President: Stephen Sell Operations Manager: Wendy Dobinson Manager, Communications and Marketing: Huong Nguyen Manager, Member Services: Laurie Richardson Dialogue Editor: Huong Nguyen Contributors: Normand Breton, Ashley Brown, Chris Browne, Richard Frost, Drew Hutcheson, Rick Murray, and submissions from: Hydro One Networks Inc., Infrastructure Health and Safety Association, League of Champions, Lineman’s Testing Laboratories of Canada, Spark Power Corp, and WSIB. This publication is sent free of charge to all members of the Ontario Electrical League and selected others directly involved in the electrical industry across Ontario and North America. Dialogue is published four times per year.
For article submissions, contact: Huong Nguyen email firstname.lastname@example.org To advertise, contact: Dave Foreman email email@example.com Production: The Communications Bridge Inc. email firstname.lastname@example.org For membership enquiries, or to update circulation information, contact: Ontario Electrical League, email: email@example.com Web: www.oel.org The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Ontario Electrical League, its Board of Directors, or its members. Publication Mail Agreement #40032872 PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT No. 40032872 RETURN UNDELIVERABLE CANADIAN ADDRESSES TO: Ontario Electrical League, 109 - 93 Skyway Avenue, Etobicoke, ON M9W 6N6 109 - 93 Skyway Avenue, Etobicoke, ON M9W 6N6, Tel: 905-238-1382
Electrical Manufacturers Andrew Kirk, Hubbell Canada LP
Electrical Distributor Jamie Nagle, Westburne
*VU[PU\LKMYVTWHNL Florida’s Restoration
“We were very confident in our team’s ability to work safely and coordinate with other utilities and contractors on this project,” says Arnold Portt of Tal Trees. “After seeing the images and hearing the stories, we were very proud of the work completed and effort put in by our crew during the two-week duration.” The team returned home to an appreciation barbeque, where Belleville Mayor Taso Christopher attended and praised them for a job well done. Each crew member spoke highly of the experience, stating that it was truly an honour to be part of this restoration and they would “do it all over again.”
Please see our Members’ News section for more stories on the efforts of our members during this Hurricane Irma restoration.
technical innovation, asset management, project
west, has battered at least nine states — flooding city streets, uprooting trees and light poles and destroying homes. Nearly 25 per cent of homes in the Florida were destroyed, and another 65 per cent suffered major damage. “WE WERE VERY CONFIDENT IN OUR TEAM’S ABILITY TO WORK SAFELY AND COORDINATE WITH OTHER UTILITIES AND CONTRACTORS ON THIS PROJECT”
development, maintenance, service and operational support to the renewable energy sector and industrial, commercial, institutional (ICI) and utility markets. Our staff are Professional Engineers and Engineering Technologists, Certified Electrical Technologists, Journeymen, Electricians (309A) and Powerline Technician, with an average tenure of over 10 years’ experience in power systems management. Spark Power has over 400 employees and 4,500 customers and has established itself as leader in delivering power systems solutions in Canada. For more information, you can contact us at (905) 829-3336, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
IHSA currently sponsors two Safety Groups: Construction/Electrical and Utilities Safety Group, and Transportation Safety Group. IHSA has also joined forces with PSHSA, WSN, and WSPS to sponsor a Northern Ontario Safety Group. Who should join?
Submitted By: Infrastructure Health and Safety Association A s a business owner, you’re always looking for ways to improve your bottom line. As an employer who cares about your employees, you also want to make sure that everyone
gets home safe at the end of the day. If there was a simple way to do both of those things, wouldn’t you jump at the chance? If you haven’t joined one of IHSA’s Safety Groups, then you’re missing out on a great opportunity. What is the Safety Groups program?
If you are a new firm or a small firm that is still establishing its health and safety systems, Safety Groups is an ideal program for you. It’s an opportunity to learn from other businesses that are
operating in the same industry and region. If you are a well- established company that is doing a review or audit of your current systems, Safety Groups is a great way for you to compare your operations with others in your industry and align them with the best industry practices. The end result is a safer industry overall, and that’s good for everyone. What are the benefits? Each Safety Group focuses on five key areas and is rewarded for making improvements in those areas. However, there are no
Safety Groups is a program administered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). Each Safety Group is made up of companies in the same industry that have joined in order to share their health and safety experience and resources and help one another improve their prevention systems. It also provides great networking opportunities. Each Safety Group has a sponsor that oversees the group, organizes meetings and leadership workshops, offers guidance on action plans, and keeps track of the group’s achievements and goals.
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In order to ensure stability at the rate group level, we decided to: • only require increases that relate to CMS legislation • cap increases at 5 per cent • allow decreases up to 7.6 per cent To ensure employers have access to information about how we calculate premium
rates, the WSIB hosted technical rate sessions for employers during November 2017, during which the Chief Actuary explained how the 2018 rates were calculated. There is also more information about 2018 premium rates available at www.wsib.on.ca. “This premium rate reduction comes at a time when legislated benefits for those injured at work are being enhanced and when significant progress is being made toward improving our financial strength,” said WSIB Chair Elizabeth Witmer.
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H:HML[`.YV\W penalties if the group does not succeed. The WSIB treats each Safety Group as one large company. It rewards the success of the group as a whole with rebates for each member on top of any of the firms’ standard experience-rating rewards. But there is more to Safety Groups than financial rebates. A survey found that participants received many other benefits from the program. They included • fewer lost-time injuries and a significantly lower severity rate than for firms not in the program • the knowledge, skills, and motivation to recognize health and safety problems and initiate solutions • improved employee perception and understanding of workplace health and safety. How do you join? For more information on Safety Groups, including how to become part of the program, or to review the application form, visit the Safety Groups page on IHSA’s website (http:// www.ihsa.ca/safetygroups). You can also contact Dawn Vanags at email@example.com (phone 905-302-1394) or Rob Woods at firstname.lastname@example.org (phone 905-967-4648). Act soon because the deadline to join a Safety Group for 2018 is December 15. Applications should be sent to Cindy Boyer at email@example.com It doesn’t matter whether your company is large or small, or what your safety record is. What matters is your commitment to improve. Don’t let an opportunity like this slip through your hands.
%\5LFN0XUUD\DQG'UHZ+XWFKHVRQ C helsea is one of the wealthiest municipalities in London, England, and England boasts very strong building and fire codes. That’s why firefighters simply did not believe, nor were they prepared, for what happened at Grenfell Towers earlier this year. The alarm from the Grenfell Tower apartment building came just before 1 a.m. Firefighters were on the scene in six minutes. “THE PRESS HAS REPORTED THAT 10 EMPLOYEES OF A RELATED FIRE ALARM CONTRACTOR HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH OFFENCES RELATED TO OTHER INCIDENTS, BUT NOT YET FOR THIS BUILDING.” The fire started in a faulty Hotpoint refrigerator in a fourth-floor apartment. It was extinguished in that unit within minutes, but not before it had spread to other apartments and floors. It took 250 firefighters 24 hours to gain control. By then, over 80 people were dead, and 129 apartments were deemed uninhabitable. In 23 of those apartments, no survivors. It has been called “Possibly the worst tragedy London has seen since the end of the Second World War.” Although many failures must have caused the fire to grow as big as it did, one of the suspected root causes was in the electrical
wiring. Electrical surges were common in this building. In 2013, an electrical surge affected 45 apartments, and 25 residents received compensation because the surges were so strong, their appliances malfunctioned, overheated and emitted smoke. Many tenants and local politicians claimed that the causes were never fully repaired. The wiring in the basement was “a mess” according to an engineering student who lived there, and tenants said complaints were continuously ignored. Actions after the fact Immediately after the fire, every level of British society sprang into action. Results have been swift and remarkable. An army of consultants, government employees, police officers, volunteers and press began to look for causes. Although it will no doubt take a year or more to reach scientific conclusions, much is already known. There have been high-profile resignations and impressive remedial actions. • A national public inquiry has been established under a retired judge, to establish the facts and recommend preventive actions. • Grenfell Tower’s council - the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s leader, deputy-leader and chief executive have been forced to resign because of the multiple failures before and after this tragedy. • The national government has taken over all the council’s housing, regeneration, community engagement and governance services due to a level of outrage that threatens chaos.
are intended to make sure that a fire starting in one apartment can not spread to others because thick fire-resistant materials surround each unit. Until this fire, authorities were so confident in the safety of apartment buildings that their advice to occupants was to stay in their apartments. This is what the Grenfell residents had been advised to do, and those instructions were repeated by firefighters even after the blaze had begun to spread between units. Because of this confidence, sprinklers were not mandatory nor installed. Building-wide fire alarms and intercom systems were not always mandatory either, and although they existed in this building, some accounts indicate that they were not completely functional. The building was renovated only three years ago. New cladding installed was made of plastic enclosed in aluminum. Many reports agree that the fire spread quickly through this material. Immediately after the fire, authorities observed that it was only approved for low-rise buildings. In September, a consumer watchdog announced that they believed 230 refrigerator models, found in over half of British homes, pose fire risks. Could this happen here? Sadly, in the UK as in Canada, regulation, compliance and enforcement are usually driven by money and fatalities. As a result, when corners are cut, rules are not adhered to, or *VU[PU\LK
• One city has already decided to install sprinklers in all their apartment buildings. • The mayor of London has said the city’s huge inventory of apartment towers, 50 years or older, might have to be demolished. • The chairman and a board member of a housing charity have resigned over protests about its silence on this incident. • The head of the management company that ran the building and oversaw the renovations (including the decision to use cheap cladding) has also resigned. The Prime Minister immediately ordered safety tests for approximately 600 high-rise buildings in England that may have contained the flammable cladding. 120 had been identified by June 28. Thousands of people have already been forced to move out of their homes. The Daily Mail has since reported that this type of cladding was used on as many as 30,000 buildings in the UK. The police have assigned over 250 inspectors to the case, with instructions to examine every organization that had anything to do with the renovation. They are considering charges up to and including manslaughter. The press has reported that 10 employees of a related fire alarm contractor have been charged with offences related to other incidents, but not yet for this building. What happened? The British strategy for preventing death in tall buildings relies heavily on the concept of “compartmentation.” Building codes
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decisions are based upon saving a dollar or two—tragedy can occur. Enforcement and adherence to codes, standards and rules are key to preventing these atrocities. Critics blamemuch of themulti- layered Grenfell Tower scandal on
people ignore the fire alarm in a shopping mall, and continued to shop while the fire alarm rang and signaled evacuation. Safety is rarely an election issue, and when it is, we often see acceptance of reduced safety
“IN OUR OPINION, A DANGEROUS LEVEL OF COMPLACENCY IS NORMAL IN CANADA. THE PUBLIC DOES NOT THINK ABOUT FIRE.”
attempts by local and national governments to reduce regulatory burden and government expenditures. The authorities who renovated the building chose cheaper, substandard cladding and nothing and no one stopped them. Years of resident complaints, appeals by experts to reform regulations, and coroners’ reports have been ignored. Inspections have been underfunded. Cuts to emergency service budgets are ongoing. Before the building was even occupied, it should have undergone building and fire inspections which should have revealed the defects. Either the inspections were not done, or they were corrupt. A tenant group had repeatedly complained about safety concerns related to electrical, fire and maintenance, which were met with threats of legal action by the council, to prevent what they called “defamation and harassment.” There are reports that the tenant group was denied legal aid for their concerns, due to funding cuts. Yes, it could happen here Government budgets in Canada cyclically rise and fall with the economy, the mood of the electorate, and the ideology of the party in power. Politicians spend on priorities with voter appeal, and they cut where they think they can get away with it. Periods of heavy deficit spending, like the one we are in, are always followed by periods of austerity. We are not immune to the disease of reduced enforcement. In our opinion, a dangerous level of complacency is normal in Canada. The public does not think about fire. We have seen
requirements to save money. Normally, we take years from the time a risk is identified and the time when codes and standards are updated, and buildings aren’t required to meet these new codes until upgrades and renovations, or change of use occurs and building permits are taken out. Buildings are grandfathered based on the code in effect at the time they were occupied. When the public’s attention was grabbed by the disastrous Forest Laneway fire near Yonge and Sheppard in 1995 that killed six people, it took two and a half years for the Ontario Fire Code to require Fire Alarm Technicians to be qualified. Codes and standards are usually updated once every four years, and implementation may be long delayed. We are using 2012 codes in 2017, and we are using 2004 and 2006 ULC standards which reference the Canadian Electrical Code. Using outdated codes carries great and unnecessary risks. Britain is a country we look up to and often imitate. We behave in similar ways. No matter how strong we may think we are now, we will always have work to do to ensure fire and life safety. The Health and Safety Management Group, located in Markham, Ontario is: an approved training partner of the Canadian Fire Alarm Association (CFAA); registered as a Private Career College under the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005; specialists in training related to workplace health and safety, to help keep employees safe, educated and informed for over 20 years. You can reach them by calling 1-877-905-2040 or by visiting them at www. thehsmg.com.
At Hydro One, safety comes first. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our employees, our customers and the public. We are committed to preventing workplace injuries and illnesses so that every employee returns home to the people they care about, every day.
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,_LYJPZL+\L+PSPNLUJL Ensure the High Voltage Laboratory Testing Your PPE is an Accredited Certified Laboratory
Submitted By: Lineman’s Testing Laboratories of Canada W ith the continuing emphasis on workplace safety awareness programs, acronyms like “PPE” are commonplace. Regulatory bodies and industry associations have mandated the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when working with, or in close proximity to, electrical power or live apparatus of 50V or more (CSA Z462 22.214.171.124). In addition to the implementation and enforcement of an electrical work policy for the protection of both the worker and the company, it is imperative that workers understand how and why the required PPE will help them, as well as how to properly care for, inspect, and maintain this equipment to comply with legislation. Arc flash clothing and face protection have specific application ratings, while insulating rubber gloves, cover up products, ground sets or assemblies, live line tools and metering/ phasing equipment have both specific application ratings and recertification requirements. All PPE is to be tested by an accredited certified laboratory on a regular basis (IHSA EUSR 134). “ACCREDITATION IS THE FORMAL DECLARATION BY A QUALIFIED AND KNOWLEDGEABLE NEUTRAL THIRD PARTY THAT THE TESTING PROGRAM IS ADMINISTERED IN A RIGOROUS MANNER THAT STRICTLY ADHERES TO RELEVANT STANDARDS FOR THE EQUIPMENT BEING TESTED” Certification and accreditation are often terms used interchangeably when discussing testing laboratories; however, there is a difference. The onus is on the end user to understand the qualifications of the high voltage testing laboratory they are using. A laboratory may develop a program for testing equipment and may operate without having been audited by an independent third party that would ensure the lab is performing and complying with industry best practices and standards. Oftentimes, laboratories are certified by organizations not from within the testing and/or PPE industry, with knowledge that is limited to their interpretation of the relevant standards, or laboratories may not be certified at all, and simply offer services with no regard for compliance as required by IHSA. Laboratory Certification or Accreditation: What’s the difference?
Accreditation is the formal declaration by a qualified and knowledgeable neutral third party that the testing program is administered in a rigorous manner that strictly adheres to relevant standards for the equipment being tested, and that the lab operation as a whole meets industry best practices. What is NAIL? NAIL for PET (North American
Independent Laboratories for Protective Equipment Testing)
is the only accreditation program for electrical equipment test laboratories in North America. To maintain accreditation, regular audits are conducted to ensure industry accepted standards are
strictly adhered to, including review of operational areas including but not limited to laboratory facility, equipment, training and knowledge of staff, quality control work procedures, and financial responsibility. Any group claiming to be a test facility or offering the services of a test facility, who are operating without NAIL-accreditation are not monitored or audited by a governing agency to ensure continued compliance to industry best practices or standards. To learn more about NAIL, visit www.nail4pet.org.
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Why Use an Accredited Laboratory? Worker Safety
A worker needs to feel confident that the equipment being used meets all regulatory requirements – an accredited certified laboratory will assess the integrity of the equipment to ensure it is safe for use. Proper care, use, and maintenance of the PPE is essential to ensure the equipment continues to provide the degree of protection for which it is designed, protecting the worker and the employer from lost time injury and workers’ compensation costs, and/or lawsuits. Compliance All laboratories must maintain detailed procedures manuals and records of equipment tested. After each test, an electronic record is kept indicating what equipment was tested, the name of the technician who performed the test, as well as the date of the test. The ability to present a test report proves advantageous in demonstrating due diligence to necessary authorities during an investigation should an incident occur where a worker is injured. To further comply with legislation, initial electrical acceptance tests are also to be performed by an accredited certified laboratory “THE ABILITY TO PRESENT A TEST REPORT PROVES ADVANTAGEOUS IN DEMONSTRATING DUE DILIGENCE TO NECESSARY AUTHORITIES DURING AN INVESTIGATION SHOULD AN INCIDENT OCCUR WHERE A WORKER IS INJURED.” (IHSA Electrical Utility Safety Rules (EUSR) book, Section 134, Clause 2). Under the manufacturing specification as described in the ASTM D120, Section 11.2 to 11.3.1, the product manufacturer has options as to how to proof-test equipment in the factory. As most manufacturers do not provide test reports, there is no ability to track the test data back to the manufacturer; with no proof of compliance, the worker and company are in a position of liability should there be an incident or investigation. In many cases, the manufacturer does not meet the requirements as set out in the IHSA EUSR book, as the EUSR book states that in order to comply, an accredited certified laboratory must present documentation, test reports, as well as meet other technical aspects as required of certification. For instance, should there be an investigation where there was electrical contact involving a worker, potentially resulting in serious burns, injuries or fatalities, the user and owner of the equipment would rely on the manufacturer for documentation as proof that the equipment in question was tested (as there is no test report provided at time of purchase). The liability in this case would fall directly on the equipment owner with little to no support from the manufacturer; both the manufacturer product and testing methods would be in question. Equipment owners who want to properly protect their users
from electrical hazards, as well as protect themselves legally, should ensure that the equipment they provide to their workers is tested in compliance with relevant industry standards, and that they are provided with a test report as proof of service. Ensure your equipment is covered under warranty. By performing initial acceptance testing of new equipment purchased from a manufacturer at an accredited certified laboratory, the user is covered under warranty should the equipment fail after use on first retest. It is not uncommon for manufacturers to produce batches of product where large numbers of failures occur. Without having performed the initial acceptance testing in an accredited certified laboratory, the end user is left with no support or warranty (ASTM D120, Section 12). Efficiency Equipment that is properly maintained lasts longer, is more likely to perform to its original manufacturer specifications, and is in a condition that minimizes the risk of interruption or harm to the worker. For optimum efficiency, back-up or redundant equipment is recommended to eliminate downtime when equipment is in a testing rotation cycle. An automatic equipment replacement program ensures users are always in compliance, eliminates work stoppage, and reduces the likelihood of an electrical incident. A reputable accredited certified laboratory will offer full service compliant solutions for managing your PPE including supply, replacement, inspection, calibration, testing and training. Exercise due diligence and ensure your safety – make certain your PPE is maintained and tested on a regular basis by an accredited certified high voltage testing laboratory. Lineman’s Testing Laboratories of Canada (“LTL”) is a privately owned Canadian company serving the utility, industrial and renewable energy sectors across Canada. LTL provides the services of three divisions: Power Technical Services (Electrical Engineering & Substation Services); LTL Utility Supply; and, High Voltage Testing, Calibration and Factory Authorized Tool Repair Services in Canada’s largest NAIL-Accredited Laboratories. Trusted since 1958, LTL delivers comprehensive solutions to a high industry standard for power system reliability and sustainability, and commands the largest distribution of personal protective equipment, utility tools and related equipment across Canada. Please visit us at ltl.ca for our full range of services, encompassing distribution of quality products, compliant services, and training and education.
By: Normand Breton, Registrar and Director, Contractor Licensing, Electrical Safety Authority
In July 2017, an Ontario provincial court ruling reinforced the strong message to individuals who work outside the law across the province: putting public safety at risk will not be tolerated. A contractor operating out of Milton 1 was sentenced in a Burlington, Ontario court to five days in jail and was ordered to pay $50,000 in fines for doing electrical work illegally. The severity of the fines and jail time sends a clear message that electrical work in Ontario must only be done with an electrical contractor’s licence and in compliance with the Ontario Electrical Safety Code. Also this year, a Mississauga-based business owner 2 was convicted and ordered to pay $18,750 for hiring an unlicensed worker to do electrical work. That worker unfortunately died on the job. The most notable prior conviction in this category was in 2012. ThyssenKrupp Industrial Services 3 was convicted for permitting an unlicensed contractor at one of their facilities and was ordered to pay $20,000. They also agreed to make a $50,000 donation to ESA for public safety education. Targeting Online Ads ESA receives hundreds of reports each year about illegal electrical work being conducted in Ontario, including reports involving contractors illegally advertising on Kijiji. Through websites like Kijiji, unlicensed contractors are able to offer their services to homeowners directly. These homeowners may not know the difference between licensed and unlicensed workers. In 2016, ESA implemented a pilot program to help prevent those searching for electricians on Kijiji from using unlicensed workers. The pilot involved finding ads posted by unlicensed electrical contractors and conducting follow-up investigations, as well as awareness advertising to educate Ontarians of the requirement to hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor. To date, ESA has posted 325 Kijiji ads which have received close to 4,000 views. Most importantly, 70 per cent of the illegal Kijiji advertisements ESA identified have been removed. But, there is still much to be done. There are loopholes, such as unlicensed contractors reposting ads shortly after being targeted. However, as long as Kijiji and ESA continue to work together, more and more ads will be brought down faster. ESA has also partnered with the site’s blog, Kijiji Central, to increase awareness of licensing requirements for both consumers and contractors. Electrical safety in Ontario is paramount and we will continue to find ways to prevent unlicensed individuals from conducting electrical work that can put public safety at risk. Normand Breton is Registrar and Director of Contractor Licensing at the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). ESA is responsible for public electrical safety in Ontario. Part of ESA’s role is to work together with Ontarians to help them understand the regulation requirements for the province.
F rom designer clothes to car parts to more unseemly products, the black market is an unregulated and potentially lethal place for consumers and businesses looking for a deal. When it comes to services like electrical work, a lack of expertise and certification puts everyone at great risk. Statistics Canada has estimated the value of all underground activity in Canada at $42.4 billion (April 2015) and the provincial government has estimated the impact in Ontario as $15 billion in lost economic activity each year. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, particularly for those working in licensed professions — those licensed in the electrical business are often tasked with cleaning up the aftermath an underground transaction.
“ANY [ELECTRICAL] WORK COMPLETED BY AN UNLICENSED CONTRACTOR IS ILLEGAL AND POTENTIALLY UNSAFE.”
In the electrical industry, we know all electrical work that’s done for hire — from small repairs to major installations — must be done by a Licensed Electrical Contractor and with the required electrical permit(s) from the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). Any [electrical] work completed by an unlicensed contractor is illegal and potentially unsafe. Getting it done by “a friend of a friend who knows someone who’s cheap” is never a good idea and potentially illegal. As a regulator and the authority responsible for electrical safety in the province, ESA takes the underground market very seriously. Here are three ways we are cracking down on unsafe, unlicensed electrical work: Investigations ESA hires authorized security investigators to investigate people doing illegal electrical work and assist with the process of charging and trying them in court. They often start an investigation based on an anonymous tip, homeowner complaint or referral from ESA inspectors in the field. A key part of the investigation is collecting enough evidence for a strong case, including interviews, online ads and social media activity. Catching the worker in the illegal act provides the strongest evidence needed to bring the worker to court. Courts and Convictions There have been at least 10 convictions related to hiring or permitting an unlicensed contractor to do electrical work in Ontario. The majority have involved general contractors that sub-contracted the work to an unlicensed individual.
1 https://www.esasafe.com/assets/files/esasafe/Newsroom/David-John-Conviction-press-release-FINAL.pdf 2 https://www.esasafe.com/assets/files/esasafe/pdf/Newsroom/Shihadeh%20Press%20Release%20FINAL.pdf 3 https://www.esasafe.com/assets/files/new3/ThyssenKrupp%20conviction%20release%20-%20FINAL%20-%20August%208,%202012%20(1).pdf
By: Ashley Brown, Sherrard Kuzz LLP I deally, workplace misconduct is dealt with swiftly and decisively through an established disciplinary process. However, when the source of the offence is not a worker’s conduct but personal hygiene, what
recourse does an employer have?
Why make a stink? Matters involving personal hygiene can present health, safety, and other workplace risks, and take a toll on employee relations and workplace morale. For example, a worker who exhibits poor personal hygiene at a client’s jobsite is not only distracting at the site but can also damage the employer’s brand and reputation. Personal hygiene can also trigger an employer’s accommodation obligations under human rights legislation. For example, where a worker suffers from a disability that causes unpleasant body odour. Given the discomfort broaching the subject and concerns about becoming ensnared in human rights litigation, it’s no wonder many employers are fraught with anxiety about how to navigate body odour issues in the workplace. Two helpful decisions The following decisions show us that personal hygiene can and should be treated like any other issue related to health, safety or the breach of a workplace policy. In Southwell v. CKF, 2017 BCHRT 83, CKF, a manufacturer of food packaging products, received complaints from employees that a coworker, Southwell, disregarded the company’s sanitation protocols, in that he: (i) spat on the plant floor; (ii) blew on product that was to be packaged; (iii) had offensive body odour; and (iv) failed to excuse himself before passing gas. CKF advised Southwell his conduct was unacceptable and gave him the opportunity to disclose any medical condition that may have contributed to his workplace behaviour. Southwell reported nothing. Throughout the next couple of months Southwell’s personal hygiene improved. However, he continued to exhibit subpar performance and an inability to follow instruction. His employment was terminated prior to the end of his probationary period. Thereafter, Southwell was diagnosed with a disability which was said to cause body odour and flatulence. He filed a complaint with the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal alleging discrimination in employment. CFK took the position it had no prior knowledge of Southwell’s disability, there was no evidence of a disability at the time of the termination, and the decision to terminate was not based on personal hygiene but rather on performance issues. The tribunal agreed with CKF and dismissed the complaint.
A similar result was reached in Von Bloedau v. Transcom Worldwide (North America) Incorporated, 2014 HRTO 67, heard before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. Throughout his two-year tenure as a customer service agent Von Bloedau was the subject of repeated complaints from coworkers regarding his body odour. As a result, he received progressive discipline, including coaching, verbal and written warnings and suspensions. With each disciplinary notice, Von Bloedau was told of the requirement to practice proper hygiene and that this was part of a professional and respectful workplace. He was also reminded an individual’s scent could be the result of various factors including diet, hygiene or medical issues, and given suggestions how to address his odour issues (e.g., bring a change of clothes to work after bicycling in extreme heat). Von Bloedau was also invited to (but did not) provide medical documentation in the event his odour was caused by a medical condition. Eventually, Von Bloedau’s employment was terminated and he filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal alleging discrimination. However, unlike the previous case, Von Bloedau’s complaint was not framed as an issue of disability discrimination, but rather as discrimination based on the protected ground of gender. Von Bloedau alleged his colleagues, predominantly female, “PERSONAL HYGIENE CAN TRIGGER AN EMPLOYER’S ACCOMMODATION OBLIGATIONS UNDER HUMAN RIGHTS LEGISLATION.”
had a stronger perception of body odour, and that as a “sweaty male” he was held to a different standard for body odour than his female counterparts. The tribunal disagreed with Von Bloedeau, finding there was no evidence of a violation of the Human Rights Code on the basis of gender or otherwise. Practical tips for electrical contractors These two decisions remind us that personal hygiene can and should be addressed like any other health, safety or human rights issue (if applicable) in the workplace. As such, to minimize the risk associated with personal hygiene issues consider the following practical tips: • Have and consistently enforce a personal hygiene policy which makes clear appropriate personal hygiene is a condition of employment. • Respect the worker’s dignity by ensuring any discussions about body odour take place in private, in a respectful manner. • Inquire and provide the worker an opportunity to explain any factor that may contribute to body odour, including a medical condition. • Where the employee discloses, or it reasonably ought to be known, personal hygiene is related to a disability or another protected ground under human rights legislation (e.g., religious Ashley Brown is a lawyer with Sherrard Kuzz LLP, one of Canada’s leading employment and labour law firms, representing management. Ashley can be reached at 416.603.0700 (Main), 416.420.0738 (24 Hour) or by visiting www.sherrardkuzz.com. The information contained in this presentation/article is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice, nor does accessing this information create a lawyer-client relationship. This presentation/article is current as of October 2017 and applies only to Ontario, Canada, or such other laws of Canada as expressly indicated. Information about the law is checked for legal accuracy as at the date the presentation/ article is prepared, but may become outdated as laws or policies change. For clarification or for legal or other professional assistance please contact Sherrard Kuzz LLP. 4 Steps to Personal Safety & Compliance observance, etc.), consider the legal obligation of reasonable accommodation. • Document all discussions and disciplinary steps including coaching, warnings, letters, meetings, etc. • If all else fails, termination of employment may be an appropriate option. For more information and/or assistance in your workplace, contact the employment law experts at Sherrard Kuzz LLP.
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