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Company fined after propane worker caught fire in Chesley

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A propane fuel company was fined $150,000 after a mishap nearly two years ago in Chesley in which a man caught on fire and was seriously injured.

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The Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development issued a news release this week which announced a conviction handed down by Ontario Court Justice Julia Morneau concerning the provincial offence.

Parkland Fuel Corporation, of Calgary, pleaded guilty and was fined $150,000 in provincial offences court in Owen Sound on Aug. 24. A 25 per cent victim surcharge was also levied.

Parkland failed as an employer to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the safety of the worker, contrary to section 25(2)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the ministry news release said.

It said a worker suffered burns while transferring propane from a tank truck to propane tanks at a private residence in Chesley on Nov. 21, 2018.

A police news release at the time said the worker was 23 years old and was using a Sparlings Propane truck on 3rd Avenue SW in Chesley. Sparlings is a division of Parkland Corporation, Sparlings’ website says.

The Chesley Fire Department put out the fire, police said.

The ministry news release said two Parkland workers were delivering liquid propane. One worker was filling the tanks while the other observed the pump in the cabinet of the tank truck.

The nozzle wasn’t properly connected and it blew off the propane tank, spraying liquid propane into the air, which ignited and set the worker’s clothes on fire. “The worker rolled in snow to extinguish the flames and emergency services were called.”

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The release said the injured worker had just started working for the company earlier that month. He’d received one day of online training in the first week of employment, the only formal training the worker had received from Parkland.

But the worker hadn’t been trained to meet regulatory requirements.

Training towards certification to operate a propane tank truck and to transfer propane from a truck to a propane tank on a customer’s premises was scheduled to take place two days after the explosion.

The company had held off scheduling the training until several newly hired workers could be trained together, the release said.

The injured worker wasn’t wearing eye protection or adequate gloves and his clothes weren’t fire-resistant. The man’s vest and sweater melted in the fire.

The appropriate personal protective equipment was ordered for the worker three weeks prior to the mishap but hadn’t arrived yet, the release said.

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