Bruce Power has been fined 110 thousand dollars after a worker was injured at the Nuclear facility at Tiverton.
A worker suffered critical injuries while doing maintenance on a generator at the power plant on February 1st, 2016.
The incident happened at Bruce "B".
A hole was being drilled in the Unit 8 generator in order to remove a bore plug.
Flames shot out of the drilled hole, injuring the worker.
A Ministry of Labour investigation found the flames resulted from the release of hydrogen from pressurized containment inside the rotor core.
The generator uses hydrogen gas as a cooling medium .
Investigators found Bruce Power failed to follow the manufacturers instructions on purging the unit of hydrogen, and failed to notify the worker about the hazard involved.
The company was fined in Owen Sound court on December 6th.
Below is some background on the incident, and then Bruce Power's response to the ruling.
•A hole was being drilled in the plant's No. 8 Generator in order to remove a bore plug on a rotor undergoing maintenance.
•As workers were drilling the first hole, flames emanated from the drilled hole and injured a worker.
•A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the flames resulted from the release of hydrogen from pressurized containment inside the rotor core.
•The generator uses hydrogen gas as a cooling medium and a mixture of hydrogen and air was created as the compressed hydrogen escaped through the freshly-drilled hole. The mixture of hydrogen and air was within the flammable range for hydrogen and came into contact with mulitiple ignition sources capable of igniting the mixture, such as the motor of the drill or a work light. This resulted in the flames that emanated from the drilled hole.
•GE, the manufacturer of the generator, had prepared and made available a technical information letter which discussed the potential hazards associated with trapped hydrogen gas.
•It had recommended that the rotor core be tested and purged of hydrogen, not pressurized before plug removal, and the removal of potential sources of ignition.
•This information was not known to the team involved in the work, including the injured worker, and its recommended method was not followed.
•Bruce Power Inc. failed as an employer to acquaint a worker with any hazard in the work and in the handling, storage, use, disposal and transport of any article, device, equipment or a biological, chemical or physical agent at a workplace located at 177 Tie Road, Tiverton, Ontario, contrary to section 25(2)(d) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The most important thing we do at Bruce Power is to make sure everyone arrives home safely at the end of their shift. In this case, despite risk assessments, a pre-job briefing and safety meeting, a risk in a process was not sufficiently identified to Bruce Power, and the company did not in turn inform its workers.
The company has since done a full reassessment of our safety practices related to this type of work and made a number of improvements to ensure this type of injury never happens again. This stands as an important reminder that safety is about people and we must remain vigilant and look out for each other, especially when hazards are present.
The company will pay an $110,000 monetary penalty plus a 25% victim fine surcharge related to the incident, which resulted in burns to a worker when gas was ignited while he was performing maintenance work in the turbine hall on the non-nuclear side of the plant. The worker was treated for burns and fortunately was able to return to work in May, 2016 and was back on full duties after a period of accommodation while he recovered.