FortisBC’s power plant at Upper Bonnington Falls. Photo: Tyler Harper.

FortisBC’s power plant at Upper Bonnington Falls. Photo: Tyler Harper.

FortisBC fined $11,000 for unsafe practices on Kootenay River dam

The incidents took place at one of FortisBC’s hydro generating facilities

FortisBC has been fined over $11,000 by WorkSafeBC for practices that endangered workers’ safety at Bonnington Falls on the Kootenay River west of Nelson.

Workers from a subcontracted firm were conducting concrete repair work on a hydroelectric generating plant from a suspended scaffold over the tailrace, or the water channel below the dam.

A generating unit was not shut down and locked out, and was maintained in an operational-ready state while repairs were underway. On multiple occasions the generating unit was started up, creating water surges that flooded and damaged the scaffold.

In a statement issued Friday, WorkSafe announced it had fined FortisBC $11,647.19 on June 17 for the infractions.

“The employer failed to ensure energy sources were isolated and controlled if an unexpected startup could cause injury to workers,” the news release states.

“In addition, as prime contractor the employer failed to establish and maintain a system of regulatory compliance, and failed to ensure that health and safety activities were co-ordinated. These were all high-risk violations.”

FortisBC owns four hydroelectric generating plants on the Kootenay River. They are the Corra Linn, Upper Bonnington, Lower Bonnington and South Slocan plants.

The WorkSafeBC press release does not specify at which of these plants the safety infractions took place.

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