Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
The Royal Ottawa Health Care Group was fined $75,000 after a nurse was stabbed by a patient at the Brockville Mental Health Centre.
The Royal Ottawa Health Care Group operates the Brockville Mental Health Centre in addition to other mental health care and research facilities in Ottawa.
On October 10, 2014 a nurse working at the Brockville Mental Health Centre was critically injured while observing a patient at the centre’s Forensic Treatment Unit. The incident occurred after the nurse had escorted the patient to the washroom. After the patient left the washroom, the patient stabbed the nurse multiple times with a pen. The nurse was taken to hospital for emergency treatment.
This incident was one of a series of incidents that took place after this patient was transferred to the unit. Multiple nurses were assaulted by the patient between August and October 2014.
Following a trial, the court found the defendant failed to reassess the risk of workplace violence as required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The court held the defendant had an obligation to reassess the risk of workplace violence and eliminate the attacks on staff.
Section 32.0.3(4) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act states that an employer must reassess the risks of workplace violence as often as is necessary to ensure the related policies and programs continue to protect workers from workplace violence.
The Royal Ottawa Health Care Group was fined $75,000 in the Ontario Court of Justice in Brockville by Justice Richard T. Knott on August 16, 2017.
The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
The Royal Ottawa Health Care Group was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), section 32.0.3, subsection 4 which states,
(4) “An employer shall reassess the risks of workplace violence as often as is necessary to ensure that the related policy under clause 32.0.1 (1) (a) and the related program under subsection 32.0.2 (1) continue to protect workers from workplace violence.”
I guess the ongoing issue with this particular patient was not enough for the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group to complete a reassessment. Why was this not part of their “Continuous Improvement” plan to cover their “Due Diligence” obligations under the Act?
Section 25, subsection 2(h) of the OHSA states,
“The employer shall,
“Take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”
The employer is also responsible to ensure that all aspects of the OHSA are carried out in the workplace.
Section 25, subsection 1(c) states,
“An employer shall ensure that,
(c) the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”
Ensure your workplace is a safe place.
Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.