Excerpt from the Ontario Government’s ‘Newsroom’
Booth Centennial Healthcare Linen Services, a Mississauga company that provides laundry services to healthcare facilities, was fined a total of $90,000 on May 11, 2009, for violations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), after a worker was killed.
In November 2006, the Ministry of Labour conducted a health and safety audit of the company’s plant on Northwest Drive and ordered Booth Centennial to conduct an engineering review of some of its equipment.
The company hired a health and safety consulting firm to prepare a health and safety review of various equipment. On December 4, 2006, an engineer contracted by the consulting firm examined Booth Centennial’s equipment and recommended modifications.
Booth Centennial made the modifications on December 12, 2006, and the company received a copy of the health and safety review dated December 12, 2006. The review noted the chutes of some washer extractors could potentially trap an employee.
On January 2, 2007, a professional engineer provided a sign-off to Booth Centennial which stated that the washer extractor line was “not likely to endanger” a worker and complied with OHSA standards.
Booth Centennial did not alert workers to the potential hazards of the machine through signage or a written policy. The company also did not provide a copy of the safety review to its joint health and safety committee.
On April 26, 2007, a worker suffered fatal injuries after being trapped between the chute and the door opening of one of the washer extractors.
Booth Centennial Healthcare Linen Services pleaded guilty and was fined $60,000 under the OHSA for failing, as an employer, to acquaint the worker with the hazards associated with the use of washer extractor. The company also pleaded guilty and was fined $30,000 under the Act for failing to provide a copy of the safety review to the joint health and safety committee.
The fines were imposed by Her Honour Madame Justice Katherine McLeod. In addition to the fines, 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.
The law(s) in contravention:
Booth Centennial Healthcare Linen Services was convicted under section 25,2(d) of the ACT,
“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.”
Booth was also convicted under section 25, 1(c) of the ACT,
“An employer shall ensure the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”
Finally, Booth Centennial Healthcare Linen Services was convicted under the Ontario Regulations 851, Industrial Establishments, section 7, (14)
“Reports of pre-start health and safety reviews conducted under this section shall,
a) Be kept readily accessible in the workplace together with any supporting documents; and
b) Be provided to the joint health and safety committee or the health and safety representative, if any, before the apparatus, structure or protective element is operated or used or the process is used.”
Here we have another company that does not understand their responsibilities under the ACT. The MOL was there to do what is called a ‘Work Well Audit’ on the health and safety policies and procedures of the place. They may have had a suspect safety record already, who knows.
The employer has an entire section committed to their responsibilities and it should be well engrained in the minds of the owners, managers and especially, the JHSC. (joint health and safety committee)
Not only did Booth not know the requirements under the ACT, but they conveniently forgot to pass on any report concerning health and safety, which is covered by section 25, subsection (l) and (m).
Section 25, (L) states,
“The employer shall provide to the committee or to a health and safety representative the results of a report respecting occupational health and safety that is in the employer’s possession and, if that report is in writing, a copy of portions of the report that concern occupational health and safety; and
Section 25, (M) states,
“Advise workers of the results of a report referred to in clause (L) and, if the report is in writing, make available to them, on request, copies of the portions of the report that concern occupational health and safety.”
As you can see, there is much material an employer must follow when it comes to the health and safety of their workplace. Adherence to the ACT is non-negotiable. As an employer, all must remember that!
Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.