Lax approach to safety

Toronto Star: July 05, 2009

How can a load of steel crash down in one of Ontario's nuclear power plants without the government bothering to investigate?

The day before the crane failure in May – that caused half a ton of steel to drop 20 metres at Bruce Power on Lake Huron – an operator had warned of a problem with the equipment, according to internal reports obtained by the Star's Robert Cribb. Five days later, there was a different problem with another crane.

What was the Ministry of Labour's response to all this? Nothing.

"We left it, as is often standard procedure, to the workplace's internal responsibility system to pursue," labour ministry spokesperson Bruce Skeaff said.

If anyone had been injured, that would have triggered an automatic labour ministry investigation. But, while it is good news no one was injured in either incident, surely the province should be showing greater concern about safety in Ontario's only privately run nuclear generating station.

Bruce Power produces 20 per cent of Ontario's electricity. It is important that Ontarians feel confident in both its internal safety standards and government oversight.

NDP critic Peter Kormos puts it simply. "These sorts of reports should compel an investigation."


Mr Hawthorne,The afternoon shift on May 11 required 2 supervisors and 2 team leaders,the supervisors had been reassigned to Bruce A leaving the safety of the crew in the hands of team leaders who had to perform their duties as workers and assume the responsibilities of managers. After the crane failure the following morning,it was discovered the supervisors turnover sheet documenting the previous shifts crane problems was missing and the crane was not locked out. 5 days later another defective crane,this time in fuel handling and not locked out,was put into service resulting in a cable jumping off a pulley. You have A full time staffing shortage [try finding a rad protection worker] as well as a lack of spare parts.Ask your staff,I did,thats why its in the star.Malcontents?you dont work under cranes.

Submitted by concerned temp at 12:56 PM Monday, July 06 2009

The Ministry of Labour did not seem to concerned, once they were notified by Bruce Power. Everything was done according to the labour code. The question that still lingers in some peoples minds: Would we know anything if were not for the Toronto Star. Probably not. And a key question, how often are these cranes and other equipment checked.Both the company and the MOL should know from the last safety check.

Submitted by carbuff.905 at 9:52 AM Monday, July 06 2009

Delay, deny, downplay.

Delay: Accident happened on May 12. First news report was six weeks later on June 29, and only after Toronto Star “obtained” plant safety briefing. According to the original article, “the incident has not been publicly reported before now.” Why not? So that it won't be news. Things that happened weeks ago are, by definition, not news. Deny: The company's own safety briefing called it “a near miss in human terms”. Yet, Mr. Hawthorne said no workers were in the vicinity. The company seems to be saying two very different things. Downplay: Mr. Hawthorne assures us that “did not create any danger to the public.” Maybe not but the original TO Star article did ask one of his workers who said, “It scared the hell out of us.”

Submitted by JimBobby at 7:59 AM Monday, July 06 2009

immense scrutinity on nuclear industry.

There isn't a single industry on the planet without injuries, and even deaths. But, if BrucePower standards are anything like OPGs, the bar for safety in nuclear industry is uncompromised perfection. Yet, there are injuries, and some worker will cut hand on sharp tool, or trip and fall. But, I dont understand why this incident, where nobody was injured was particularly new-worthy. Every year hundreds of workers sustain severe injuries in workplace, and some even die - yet I cant recall an article on the warehouse crane that tipped and crused the operator, or the chemist who was intoxicated by noxious fumes. It seems the media cant help themselves in trying to make a sensation out of any possible accident related to the contraversial nuclear industry.

Submitted by jus d'orange at 5:53 PM Sunday, July 05 2009

Get the Right Story..ask the Real Workers

As the CEO of Bruce Power I take strong exception to this total misrepresentation of facts. I spoke to this reporter about the so called "workers" I told him we have on our site 6000 union represented employees. We have the best safety statistics in North American industry. Yes we did indeed have a crane fail due to a manufacturing defect. We investigated it thoroughly in conjunction with our union safety reps and took the appropriate action including informing MOL. If you want to know about our site safety ask our workers...i will accept what they tell you...not some malcontents who are not my staff.

Submitted by Duncan Hawthorne at 11:08 AM Sunday, July 05 2009