Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Kinark Child and Family Services, an agency providing children’s mental health services and support for children and youth in Halton Region and elsewhere in central Ontario, has been fined $125,000 following a workplace violence incident where a staff member was physically assaulted by a youth.
On May 4, 2014, at Kinark’s Syl Apps Youth Centre facility on Iroquois Shore Road in Oakville, a youth worker who had recently started an employment contract on the detention and custody unit for boys was directing a youth to return to his room for the night. The youth became agitated, entered the staff office and repeatedly struck the worker. A co-worker also located in the staff office intervened in the assault and was also injured. Both workers suffered physical and psychological injuries.
Kinark pleaded guilty to failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence or the risk of violence from a resident.
The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Liisa Ritchie in Burlington court on August 16, 2016. 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.
The law(s) in contravention:
Kinark was found guilty of a violation of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), section 25, subsection (2)(a) which states,
“An employer shall,
- provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker.”
I wonder if the key word in the definition of 2 (a) is supervision? Were the two employees properly supervised? If this is not the case then a case-by-case study was not completed to ensure the workers were aware of the possibility of violence by an already agitated youth. Were they given self-defense lessons to better prepare them. Were they given negotiating skills to resolve the issue or to de-escalate the situation.
All good questions. I wonder what the real answers were. The wrong ones or no answers. I bet they have them now.
Please ensure that your workplace is a safe place.
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’, ‘Violence and Harassment’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.