Excerpts From the Ontario Government’s ‘Newsroom’

679051 Ontario Limited, carrying on business as Auction Reconditioning Centre, was fined $50,000 on February 16, 2010, for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) that caused an injury to a worker.

On May 1, 2006, a worker at the company’s Milton facility was vacuuming the trunk of a car. Another car pulled up behind the worker, and a van pulled up behind the second car. The van hit the second car, causing it to move forward and pinch the worker between its bumper and the bumper of the car being vacuumed. The worker suffered arm and leg injuries.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the driver of the van was a young worker who was not trained to drive vehicles for the company.

679051 Ontario Limited was found guilty, after trial, of failing to ensure that the young worker received information, instruction and supervision in the safe operation and parking of vehicles at the workplace.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Lina Mills. In addition to the fine, the court 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.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

The company did not have a company policy, or failed to enforce a policy, that states all employees must have a valid driver’s licence to be able to move customer vehicles.

Auction Reconditioning Centre was found guilty of section 25, subsection 2(a),

“The employer shall provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health and safety of the worker.”

How much simpler it would have been if Auction Reconditioning Centre had reviewed their responsibilities under the ACT and practiced ‘Due Diligence’.

It is not the intention of the MOL to look like the bad guy here. It is their job to ensure that every workplace in Ontario is a safe place. It is up to all employers to review the ACT and the ‘sector specific’ regulations and attempt to understand them. The health and safety of their workers and, in this case, customers, is their responsibility.

$50,000 sounds like an extremely large fine for an accident (it would be in Alberta) but I wager Auction Reconditioning Centre, as part of their corrective action plan to prevent a recurrence, has a policy in place, enforced by supervision, that states all employees MUST have a valid driver’s licence and that they carry proof of that licence with them at all times. I suspect it will be in written form and prominently displayed.

The supervisor better understand that he/she was fortunate here. The supervisor could have been charged with section 27, subsection 1(a)

“A supervisor shall ensure that a worker, works in a manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by the ACT and the regulations”

A supervisor must ensure that a worker is competent to do the work. If the supervisor does not know that, then the employer is in violation of section 25, subsection 2(c),

“When appointing a supervisor, the employer must appoint a competent person.”

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259 We can also be reached at info@hrsgroup.com

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

 

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