Blog Post #688 – St. Joseph’s Health Care London Fined $50,000 after Nurse Injured

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

St. Joseph’s Health Care London has been fined $50,000 after a nurse was injured while providing medication to a patient in a hospital room.

On May 5, 2013, the nurse was administering medication to the patient at the Parkwood Hospital site at 801 Commissioners Road East in London. Leaving the bedside, the nurse lost balance and fell; a foot had become entangled in a cable attached to the bed check equipment in place on the patient’s bed. The nurse’s injuries included a fracture in one arm.

Dangling cords were a known hazard in the workplace and had been documented in the inspection records of the workplace joint health and safety committee. In this incident, the cord in question had not been secured by any means, although hooks, clips or Velcro had been previously identified as methods of securing cords.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the hospital failed to provide adequate information, instruction and supervision with respect to avoiding trip hazards associated with the cords that are part of the bed check equipment, contrary to Section 25(2) (a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. St. Joseph’s Health Care London pleaded guilty to failing to protect the health or safety of the worker, and was fined $50,000.

The fine 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:

St. Joseph’s Health Care London was found guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 2 (a) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“The employer shall,

Provide the information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health and safety of the worker.”

The employer shall recognize, assess and controls hazards, usually with the help of the joint health and safety committee, (JHSC) before any work is done. The employer MUST act on possible health suggestions if at all possible. There are many factors involved but this particular issue could have been an easy fix, with minimal cost but was not acted upon and the nurse was injured.

Please ensure that your workplace is a safe place. Let the JHSC help your company become a safer place and you will always be glad you did.

There is a topic, usually found as a module in a BCT II course called “Slips, Trips and Falls.” Ensure your company has a policy and procedure to deal with this type of problem and the Ministry of Labour (MOL) and the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) have print outs on this type of hazard for you to use. Please review them, use them and I encourage you to implement slips, trips and fall controls in your workplace.

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 Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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