Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’. A worker working at a home operated by Pathways to Independence was fatally injured as a result of an incident of workplace violence.
Pathways to Independence (“Pathways”) is a not-for-profit organization that offers assisted community living services including supportive housing options, day and recreation programs, behaviour therapy, and short-term respite.
On July 24, 2020, a worker employed by Pathways arrived for their overnight shift, working alone, at one of the assisted living group homes operated by Pathways. Shortly after, a co-worker received a call indicating that the worker on the overnight shift had been fatally injured.
The co-worker returned to the workplace to find the worker on the floor unresponsive, and immediately called 911. The worker was transported to a nearby hospital and was pronounced dead.
An investigation by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development determined that Pathways failed to reassess the risk of workplace violence as required.
Pathways to Independence failed, as an employer, to reassess the risk of workplace violence as required under section 32.0.3(4) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Following a guilty plea in provincial offences court in Brockville, Pathways to Independence was fined $135,000 by Justice Richard Knott.
The court also 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.
The law(s) in contravention:
Pathways to Independence was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) section 32.0.4 which states,
(4) An employer shall reassess the risks of workplace violence as often as is necessary to ensure that the related policy under clause 32.0.1 (1) (a) and the related program under subsection 32.0.2 (1) continue to protect workers from workplace violence.
It is really a pity that only one person was working to control an overnight environment. I wonder if the employee would have lived if there was another employee around to double the protection. I would wager the answer is yes!
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.
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.