Blog Post #1367 – Criminal Investigation Demanded

OH&S Canada magazine – (May 2016)

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) is calling for law enforcement to launch criminal investigations into two separate workplace fatalities that occurred in Brampton, Ontario on May 10, 2016.

In one incident, a worker at a new housing development was crushed to death in a vehicle similar to a boom lift. On the same day, an employee at a golf course was run over by a lawn-cutting machine, sustaining fatal injuries.

In a statement following the tragedies, OFL president Chris Buckley demands that the police investigate both incidents as possible criminal matters before calling them “accidents”.

“Years ago, police started referring to motor-vehicle collisions as ‘incidents’ instead of ‘accidents’,” Buckley says. “It is a subtle, but important, change that indicates an entirely different approach to investigating the cause of a tragedy. Accidents have no apparent or deliberate cause, but crimes are reckless or wilful and carry stiff punishments.”

Buckley adds that police need to treat industrial incidents as potential crime scenes and investigate them to determine if employer negligence was a factor. “When will negligence results in a worker’s death, it is a crime not an accident.”

My opinion

The Ontario Federation of Labour is a good organization attempting to steer the police and have them attempt to consider to use the stricter laws that we have in place for workplace safety and consider the possibility of criminal intent.

Accidents have many causes but many companies have good safety records because they recognize the hazards in their workplace and place preventative measures to reduce workplace incidents.

We also have, under the Canadian Criminal Code, section 217.1, which has been used a few times dealing with deaths in the work. (See the Metron incident, Dec. 2009)

It states,

“Every one who undertakes, or has the authority, to direct how another person does work or performs a task is under a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person, or any other person, arising from that work or task.”

It carries a maximum sentence of 7.5 years for “Criminal Negligence Causing Death”.

For those not in the know, the appropriate police force completes a criminal investigation prior to the MOL becoming involved.

I do hope the Police departments understand their responsibility here and act accordingly.

Maybe the police need to receive competent H&S training so they can review each accident on a case-to-case basis and, refer those that qualify, for criminal charges.

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 

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

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




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