Blog Post #83 – Guess? Canada Corporation Fined $50,000 After Worker Seriously Injured

Excerpt from the Ontario Government’s ‘Newsroom’

Guess? Canada Corporation, a national clothing and accessories retailer, was fined $50,000 on May 14, 2009, for a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was seriously injured.

On October 7, 2007, at the company’s Bloor St. W. location, a worker was standing on an eight-foot, A-frame ladder in the storage room, attempting to return a box to the top shelf. The ladder gave way and the worker fell to the floor, losing consciousness and sustaining back injuries.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the ladder was too wide for the storage room. This meant the worker could not fully open the ladder and lock it into place to prevent it from collapsing.
Guess? Canada Corporation pleaded guilty under the OHSA to failing, as an employer, to ensure that the worker could carry, move and lift store merchandise safely.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Mary Anne Ross Hendriks. In addition to the fine, the court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge on the total, 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 laws in contravention:

Section 45 (a) of the ‘Industrial Establishment’ sector regulation 851/90 which states,

“Materials, articles or things required to be lifted, carried or removed, shall be lifted, carried or moved in such a way and with precautions and safeguards, including protective clothing, guards or other precautions as will ensure that the lifting, carrying or moving of the material, articles or things does not endanger the safety of any worker.”

Section 25, 1(c) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety ACT (OHSA) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”

As a WSIB provider for Basic Certification Level 1, I continually receive calls from companies found to be remiss in their duties and responsibilities under the ACT and the appropriate regulations. Here we have Guess? Canada Corporation not understanding their duties under the ACT and one of their workers suffered an injury because of it. If the company had a H&S committee, then why did they not see this and, if they did see it, why was it not acted upon.

Always remember, an employer is responsible for the health and safety of all their employees. Please look up the appropriate legislation that apply to your workplace and use common sense and incorporate into the workplace any suggestions provided by the ACT or its regulations.

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including Material Handling. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259. We can also be reached at

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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

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