Blog Post #643 – Walinga Inc. Fined $20,000 for Failure to Report ‘Critical Injury’

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s Newsroom

Walinga Inc., a Guelph company that manufactures transportation equipment, portable pneumatic conveying systems and recycling trucks, has pleaded guilty to failing to follow notification procedures required under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and fined $20,000.

On or about July 19, 2013, a worker at the company worksite located at 5656 Highway 6 North in Guelph was stacking parts onto a skid. A worker was walking away from the skid when the last part stacked caused the load on the skid to tip and fall toward the worker. The worker’s lower leg became trapped under the parts.

Once freed, the worker left the scene, proceeding to a health care facility to have any injuries assessed. At the hospital, the injured worker was diagnosed with a fracture of the fibula, a bone in the lower leg. Under the OHSA, a fracture is defined as a critical injury.

At the hospital the injured worker was given a Workplace Safety and Insurance Board health professional’s report, known as Form 8, which indicated that the worker could return to work with modified duties. The form did not state that the injured worker had a broken leg.

After the diagnosis, the injured worker reported to a night shift supervisor about sustaining a broken leg and gave a copy of the Form 8 to the night shift supervisor.

The next day, which was July 20th and the worker’s scheduled day off, the injured worker telephoned the employer and advised a supervisor of the broken leg. Then on the worker’s next scheduled work day, July 23rd, the worker attended a morning meeting with the company’s human resources staff, where the worker again indicated that the injury was a broken leg.

Later that afternoon, the Ministry of Labour contacted the company to indicate that it had received information that a worker had broken a leg at the workplace four days earlier. Human resources staff, and the injured worker confirmed, that the company was in the process of reporting the matter to the ministry. The company indicated that it did not take any steps prior to July 23rd to confirm the nature of the injury and report it immediately to the ministry as required by section 51(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. As such, Walinga failed as an employer to immediately report a critical injury to the Ministry of Labour.

The company pleaded guilty and a fine of $20,000 was imposed by Justice of the Peace Michael A. Cuthbertson.

In addition to the fine, 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:

Walinga was found guilty of violating section 51, subsection 1 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, (OHSA) which states,

“Where a person is killed or critically injured from any cause at a workplace, the constructor, if any, and the employer shall notify an inspector, and the committee, health and safety representative and trade union, if any, immediately of the occurrence by telephone or other direct means and the employer shall, within forty-eight hours after the occurrence, send to a Director a written report of the circumstances of the occurrence containing such information and particulars as the regulations prescribe.”

The law is explicit in this case. Mind you, not many know the legal definition of a ‘Critical Injury’ so the author has provided the information for the reader;

“Critically Injured” means an injury of a serious nature that,

(a) Places life in jeopardy,
(b) Produces unconsciousness,
(c) Results in substantial loss of blood,
(d) Involves the fracture of a leg or arm but not a finger or toe,
(e) Involves the amputation of a leg, arm, hand or foot but not a finger or toe,
(f) Consists of burns to a major portion of the body, or
(g) Causes the loss of sight in an eye.

This definition is given during the certification process of certain representatives on the joint health and safety committee. Obviously, Walinga does not have a committee, OR, it does but they do not have certified reps, OR they are not listened to.

Too bad, the creation of the accident report in the appropriate time would have saved Walinga $20,000 + $5,000 victim fine surcharge for a total of $25,000.

You do not want to be on the MOL safety radar!

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 

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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

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