Blog Post #752 – Health Authority Fined

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

The Saskatoon Regional Health Authority was fined $154,000 on July 15, 2013 for exposing workers to carbon monoxide on Boxing Day, 2010.

The Saskatoon Health Authority pleading guilty to two counts under the Occupational Health & Safety Regulations, a statement from Saskatchewan’s ‘Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety’ reports. The charges relate to the failure to ensure that workers were trained in all matters necessary to protect their health and safety, and failure by the health Authority to arrange for the regular examination of a plant under its control. Nine other charges were stayed.

The conviction stems from an incident on December 26, 2010 when eight workers were exposed to carbon monoxide that had accumulated in the mechanical room at St. Mary’s Villa, long-term care facility in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, says Crown prosecutor Michel Miller. The guest spread throughout the facility and resulted in the deaths of three residents. Miller says inquests are underway to determine what role, if any, the exposure played in their deaths.

Following the incident, provincial health regions were directed to implement preventative measures related to carbon monoxide. They include installing carbon monoxide detectors in every health facility in the province and developing longer-term plans to ensure that users of the facility can be protected from exposure to the deadly gas.

My opinion

Carbon Monoxide gas is a colourless, odorless gas, CO, formed when a compound  containing carbon burns incompletely because there is not enough oxygen. It is present in the exhaust gases of automobile engines and is very poisonous. This particular tragedy could have been averted if Carbon Monoxide was a recognized hazard in the first place and controls were to be in place before the building was used for the very first time.

I just could not believe that, in this day and age, CO detectors were not automatically made a part of the safety prevention system as they are in most homes. Our home has one on each level, one near the furnace, and tied to the alarm system. Why was this not done in a long-term care facility and a standard feature.

Do you ever notice, my reader, changes are always made ONLY when a tragedy strikes. Home about common sense and proper hazard recognition as the building blocks to a well-protected care facility. I guess they really DIDN’T care!

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’, ‘WHMIS’, ‘Chemical Safety Awareness’ 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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