Blog Post #96 – Laurentian Valley Fined $75,000 After Worker Seriously Injured

Excerpt from the Ontario Government’s ‘Newsroom’

The Corporation of the Township of Laurentian Valley, carrying on business as the Ottawa Valley Waste Management Board, was fined $75,000 on May 25, 2009, for a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was seriously injured.

On August 9, 2007, workers at Algonquin Provincial Park were emptying buried waste collection containers. The containers consist of a solid top and sides with a flexible bag underground that is opened using a drawstring. To empty a container, workers lift the bag out of the ground with a crane and swivel it over a truck-mounted collection bin. Workers open the bag’s drawstring, waste falls into the bin, and the bag is returned to the ground.

On this day, the drawstring of one of the waste bags would not open, so a worker climbed into the top of the truck-mounted collection bin to manually open the bag. The worker did not use the catwalk mounted on the back of the truck, and while on the top of the truck, the worker slipped and fell about 3.5 metres to the pavement below.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Nancy Mitchell. In addition to the fine, the court 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 Law(s) in contravention:

The Corporation of the Township of Laurentian Valley pleaded guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), section 25, sub-section 2(d) which states,

“An employer shall acquaint a worker or a person in authority over a worker with any hazard in the work and in the handling, storage, use, disposal and transport of any article, device, equipment or a biological, chemical or physical agent.”

The employer MUST ensure that all possible hazards on a job have been identified and an action plan and training schedule have to be set up. Any hazard identified must generate training for the employee so that the information filters down to that level. It doesn’t make sense for an employer to identify hazards and not pass that information by way of training. If the employer does NOT recognize all hazards associated with any work or job, then the employer has not practiced ‘Due Diligence’ and will be charged anyway.

Remember, the employer is responsible for the health and safety of all its workers.

Does it sound like the Corporation of the Township of Laurentian Valley had the safety of the workers as their #1 priority. Not recognizing a hazard is unacceptable under Ontario law.

I wonder who the H&S Co-ordinator is in this case. A refresher in the OHSA certainly would be a start.

Due Diligence is the key to corrective action!

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs. 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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