Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
A company and a shift boss in Saskatoon have been fined $24,500 and $2,100 respectively over an industrial accident in 2012.
The first fine was issued on January 8, 2014 after Claude Resources pleaded guilty for failing to ensure that work was sufficiently and competently supervised, that appropriate written procedures were provided and that only an approved blasting machine was used in the case of a blast initiated by electrical means. The shift boss was fined after pleading guilty to failing to take reasonable care to protect the health and safety of himself and other workers, Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety reports.
The charges stem from a blasting operation on January 22, 2012 at Laonil Lake. The blast knocked Steve Strickland and another employee to the ground. Another worker sustained a broken leg when a truck was pushed forward by the blast, pinning him to the wall.
First of all, let us explore the Saskatchewan definition of the word, “Competent”.
“Competent” means possessing knowledge, experience and training to perform a specific duty.
The Saskatchewan definition for a “Competent Worker” is listed as,
“Competent worker”, with respect to a particular task or duty, includes a worker who is being trained to perform that task or carry out that duty and who is under close and competent supervision during that training. (taken from the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 1996)
I think the “Competent worker” definition is one of the strongest in Canada. If one looks at the Alberta definition of “Competent” it will be described this way,
Three characteristics are used to describe a worker as “competent”
(1) adequately qualified — the worker has some type of qualification, usually earned through a formal education program, training course, etc., or a combination of education and practical experience. With certain exceptions such as professional designations e.g. professional engineer, nurse, physician, etc. or other legal requirement involving qualifications, the employer is responsible for evaluating and deciding if a worker is adequately qualified. The employer should be able to justify the basis on which a worker is considered to be “adequately qualified”;
(2) suitably trained — the worker must have training that is appropriate to the tasks, equipment, etc., that will be performed or used. In addition to this training, the worker must receive safety training, the minimum requirements of which are described in section 15 of the OHS Regulation. The employer is responsible for evaluating and deciding if a worker is suitably trained. The employer should be able to justify the basis on which a worker is considered to be “suitably trained”; and
(3) with sufficient experience to safely perform work without supervision or with only a minimal degree of supervision — determining whether a worker has sufficient experience to safely perform work is the employer’s responsibility. A worker’s qualifications, training and experience are no guarantee that work will be performed safely. The employer should be able to justify the basis on which a worker is considered to have “sufficient experience”.
Can the reader see the difference? Saskatchewan understands the need for “competent” supervision. Alberta relies on sufficient training and then reduce the supervision so the worker can work unsupervised or with a minimal degree of supervision. More safety layers (layered audits) lead to a better and safer work environment.
(Someone in Alberta forgot to read the memo)
Good going Saskatchewan!
Ensure your workplace is a safe place.
Remember – In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.