Enwave District Energy Limited Fined $275,000 for Health and Safety Violation

Oct. 12, 2004

Enwave District Energy Limited, a Toronto-based company whose four Toronto plants deliver steam and chilled water via an underground piping network to about 130 institutional and commercial buildings in downtown Toronto, was fined $275,000 on September 28, 2004 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that resulted in the death of two workers at one of its plants.

On October 23, 2002, two workers were applying an epoxy coating (a type of paint) inside a condensing tower tank located on the third floor of the plant when hot pressurized water flowing from a boiler on the ground floor to a condensate tank in the basement flashed into steam and rose up a drainage pipe leading to the condensing tower tank, where the two workers were working.

The workers suffered severe burns from the steam and were taken to

Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. One of the workers died that day and the other died the

next morning. Both workers were employed by a company contracted by Enwave District Energy Limited to sandblast and re-coat the inside of the condensing tower tank.

The Ministry of Labor investigation found that Enwave District Energy Limited did not have a written procedure that set out safe practices for diverting water from a boiler to the condensate tank. The incident occurred at 95 Walton Street, near Bay and Gerrard Streets in Toronto.

Enwave District Energy Limited pleaded guilty, as an employer, to failing to take the reasonable precaution of having policies and procedures written and followed at the workplace with respect to safe practices and procedures for diverting water and/or steam from a boiler to the condensate tank. This was contrary to Section 25(2)(h) of the act.

The fine was imposed by Justice Robert Bigelow of the Ontario Court of Justice at Old City Hall in Toronto. In addition, the court imposed a 25-percent 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.

Source: Ministry of Labor, Canada

Image by Burnham RNG, courtesy twentytwo & brand.