Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

The City of Ottawa was fined $80,000 for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

On February 22, 2012, a worker at a public works yard at 2264 Colonial Road in Navan was preparing a truck to haul gravel by removing a large grate on top of the truck box. Working from the top of the truck box, the worker hooked the grate with a chain attached to the backhoe. The worker was on the grate and moving toward a fixed ladder to get to the ground, and the unsecured grate shifted, causing the worker to fall to the ground. The worker suffered cracked bones, a dislocation and bruising. A Ministry of Labour investigation followed.

The City of Ottawa pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker, contrary to section 25, subsection 2(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), and was fined $80,000.

The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Nancy Mitchell. In addition to the fines, 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 City of Ottawa was found guilty of a contravention of section 25, sub-section 2(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act which states,

“An employer shall,

Take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”

A simple task! Were all the hazards identified prior to the work being done? Did the supervisor have a tailgate meeting prior to determine if the operation was to be a safe one? I think not on both accounts.

The MOL may have disciplined the supervisor under section 27 of the OHSA and, if the supervisor was unaware of his/her responsibilities, then the employer is at fault under section 25, sub-section 2 (c) stating the employer must appoint a competent person as a supervisor.

I do hope that every section of the city of Ottawa government has placed written safe work instructions in every aspect of the workplace. If not, then this type of injury will happen again. The next time, we may find a workplace death instead. Let’s learn from our mistakes and eliminate these types of accidents.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at info@hrsgroup.com

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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

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