Monday, January 13, 2014

Lack of Training, Programs and Plans Equals Recipe for Disaster

Public Works pled guilty after a Fleet Street Plant boiler exploded, taking the life of a father of four – Peter Kennedy and injuring two other workers in 2009. Improper training on the hazards were identified as one of the main reasons for this fatality.  The tragic death of Peter Kennedy should serve as an impetus to Protecting Canadian workers at their workplace and ensuring that the proper training is received by all workers on all hazards in the workplace.

Labour Canada laid eight charges against Public Works; they pled guilty to three of these charges:
·         Failing to develop and implement a program for the prevention of hazards in the workplace
·         Failing to develop a health and safety plan
·         Failing to provide enough training for employees on the hazards and supervisors and managers on health and safety issues

It was also identified that the plant had no proper emergency procedures; employees hadn’t been shown standard operating manuals and the company’s employees that serviced the boilers were not certified to do so. 

Recognizing that training in proper work practices is a necessary and unavoidable cost of doing business; lack of or improper training is a recipe for disaster. 

The Ottawa based company – R and R Automation that inspected the boilers was not charged due to a gap in jurisdiction – the boiler sits on federal property.

Although imposing a $100,000 fine per charge on one federal government department would mean it would flow right back to the federal government; it would be a purely symbolic gesture that implies they cannot hide behind their own laws.  It will be determined at the hearing on July 4th and 5th, 2013 in an Ottawa court.

Further to this news release a longer analysis about what we can learn from this tragic event – the need for a “safety culture” in an organization, will follow in future articles. 

Lynne Bard is President and Senior Consultant of Beyond Rewards Inc., a preeminent human resources, risk management, health and safety and training consulting firm based in Guelph &; Fergus, Ontario.   For more information on this topic contact Lynne at

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