Arc Flash and Due Diligence: Bill C45

Folks lets discuss:

Bill C-45, Due Diligence...

If you are a manager, superintendent, supervisor or foreman you most likely know this, but let’s have a quick review of the highlights…

and think of them from an electrical worker’s perspective who’s engaged in many various aspects of the very diversified electrical discipline in your plant or facility.

Bill C-45, Due Diligence is a direct result of the Westray Mine Disaster of May 9,1992  that took 27 lives and changed the lives of hundreds of people forever.

Today, Bill C-45 is federal legislation that amended the Canadian Criminal Code and became law on March 31, 2004.

The Bill established new legal duties for workplace health and safety and imposed serious penalties for violations that result in injuries or death.

It provided new rules for attributing criminal liability to organizations, including corporations, their representatives and those who direct the work of others... read “Supervisors”.

Bill C-45 added Section 217.1 to the Criminal Code which reads:

"217.1 Everyone who undertakes, or has the authority, to direct how another person does work or performs a task is under a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person, or any other person, arising from that work or task."

Bill C-45 also added Sections 22.1 and 22.2 to the Criminal Code imposing criminal liability on organizations and its representatives for negligence (22.1) and other offences (22.2).

Due Diligence

Failure to prove that you have been duly diligent in complying with occupational health and safety legislation can result in significant penalties.

“Due diligence is the level of judgement, care, prudence, determination, and activity that a person would reasonably be expected to do under particular circumstances”.

Due diligence is demonstrated by your actions before an incident occurs, not after the fact.

A competent worker is someone who is adequately qualified, suitably trained, and has sufficient experience to safely perform his or her work. A competent worker is not considered to require direct supervision.

How it effects electrical workers?

Due Diligence includes components or factors such as being deemed qualified & competent, risk & hazard analysis and recognition, electrical safety training, task procedures, safe work plans, specific PPE, etc.

Should an incident occur how would you answer the following questions in an inquiry situation? 

Would you be comfortable with your present Electrical Safety Program (ESP)? 

Do you even have one?

In determining whether your defense of “due diligence” is valid, a judge or jury considers three main factors:

(1)   Foreseeable — could a reasonable person have foreseen that something could go wrong?

(2)   Preventable — was there an opportunity to prevent the injury or incident?

(3)   Control — who was the responsible person present who could have prevented the incident or incident?

We all need to do everything in our collective powers to ensure we are all safe at work.

Now it’s your turn!

Please leave a comment below.

What do you think about Bill C-45 and how it applies to electricians?