Wingham public works building to get electrical upgrades

·2 min read

WINGHAM – A building condition assessment (BCA) report identified some safety issues at the Wingham public works building during a recent inspection. In response, North Huron council has approved the replacement of the main panel and partial replacement of the branch wiring and lighting.

The cost of nearly $40,000 also includes replacing a ceiling in the garage office.

The Wingham public works garage was built in the 1960s with an addition in the 1990s. The BCA reported that the building is in acceptable condition for its intended use; however, some major component upgrades are anticipated within the short term.

The expected useful life of an electrical panel is over forty years and the BCA reported that the downstream secondary panels are in poor to fair condition.

A report presented to North Huron council on Oct. 19 by Public Works Director, Jamie McCarthy says that the safety of employees is North Huron’s number one priority and for this reason, it is recommended the electrical upgrades be completed in 2020. The wiring has been upgraded by sections over the years and is in older condition.

According to the BCA, the main electrical panel was manufactured by General Electric and is rated at 120/208 V, 200A. It was reported to have been installed approximately 1960. Electricity supplies secondary panels, lighting, and receptacles throughout the building. The lighting consists of T8 fluorescent tubes.

The Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development website says “Workers risk serious, life-changing injuries and possible death if they come in contact with energized conductors or equipment.”

“It takes very little electrical current to kill a worker. Less than one amp of electricity can cause a worker to stop breathing. Contact with a live 15-amp circuit (equivalent to a standard household 125-volt circuit) can result in death,” according to the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association.

“At Ontario workplaces, one in five critical injuries and one in 18 non-critical injuries involving electricity results in death,” according to the Electrical Safety Authority.

Recommendations for future consideration at the garage are the replacement of the wooden doors and windows from the 1960s at an estimated cost of $17,940 and interior updates, possibly in 2022 at an estimated cost of $20,875.

Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times