Hydro and Power Authority fined over $700,000 for damaged ventilation equipment

January 16, 2024

It has been revealed that BC Hydro was fined over $700,000 in 2023 for damaged ventilation equipment at its Site C dam.

The $710,488.79 fine was handed down in September 2023, and the penalty summary was recently released to the public.

Bob Gammer, Site C community relations manager, says the penalty is related to work done by a BC Hydro contractor in the dam’s powerhouse.

WorkSafeBC said damaged ventilation equipment was found, as well as deficiencies with how the power company addressed welding fume hazards.

The provincial agency added that the subcontracting firm for welding did not have an adequate exposure plan for welding fumes.

The fumes produced or present during welding can include nitrogen oxide, ozone, and metal fumes such as manganese, chromium, and carbon monoxide.

The short-term exposure risks include eye, nose, and throat irritation, dizziness, and nausea. The long-term exposure risks include asthma, stomach ulcers, kidney damage, as well as cancer of the larynx, lungs, and urinary tract.

WorkSafeBC said because BC Hydro was the primary contractor of the workplace, the company failed to establish and maintain regulatory compliance. BC Hydro also failed to keep updated written procedures for providing first aid.

The violations were repeated and high-risk, according to WorkSafeBC.

Gammer said once the order was received, the Site C project ensured full compliance and increased field verifications of compliance with the ventilation plans.

BC Hydro and subcontractors at the Site C Dam have been fined a number of times since the beginning of construction.

This is valid as of 16th January 2024.

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