Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
WorkSafeBC has revealed the provinces worst offenders of 2012, who racked up hundreds of penalties and millions of dollars in fines.
The safety regulator released its annual penalty report on February 25, 2013, which documents the provinces 12 violators of the Workers Compensation Act and Occupational Health & Safety regulations.
“To target industries and employers of present the greatest risk to worker health and safety, we have a high-risk strategy. It is based on the number of serious injuries, fatalities and high-claim costs in industry sectors and subsectors,” says Megan Johnston, Communications Officer at WorkSafeBC in Richmond, British Columbia.
A total of 260 penalties were issued against 225 employers. Of those infractions, six involved fatalities. The worst offending industries include steep slope roofing with 83 penalties, followed by framing work/contracting and construction/renovation at 35 and 25 penalties respectively. Employers from the construction sector accounted for almost 85% of infractions, due mostly in part to inadequate use of fall protection (59 percent) and exposure to asbestos (14 percent).
To reflect the current safety standard, the maximum penalty that can possibly be applied under the Workers Compensation Act is adjusted each year. The maximum penalty permissible for 2012 was adjusted at $596,435.35, amounting to a total of nearly 3 million in fines, the report notes.
Al Johnson, WorkSafeBC’s VP of prevention services, says while WorkSafeBC works with employers to ensure that they understand their legal responsibilities to provide safe and healthy workplaces, “our officers will impose a penalty or pursue court processes against employers who repeatedly failed to comply with the law.”
I was very surprised to find out that the British Columbia has a higher maximum set fine then is allowed in Ontario. The maximum fine in Ontario, for an employer, per contravention, is $500,000 and personal fines of up to $25,000 and/or up to a year in jail.
As the reader can see, all provinces have had issues with fall protection. Up until recently, most construction sites have been lacking in controlling fall hazards on the job. The new Working At Heights legislation, recently updated, is driving change here in Ontario. The construction industry must comply immediately and the other sectors will be brought online by the end of 2017.
Ensure that your workplace is a safe place and keep your workers at the top of your priority. They are your best asset so please keep them safe!
That is a law in every province!
If you are an employer in Ontario please read sections 26 of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 for more details.
Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.