Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

Written by Jason Contant — Editor of the magazine

Employers in the Yukon who fail to notify the territory’s workers’ compensation board of their compliance with written safety orders should expect to take it on the chin financially.

Since June 1, employers who do not provide the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board in Whitehorse with a compliance update by the deadline provided have left themselves open to a financial hit. An immediate $250 penalty will be applied, notes a statement from the safety body.

“For every week the employer has not notified [the board] of compliance, the fine will double,” it adds.

For “low-to medium-severity” infractions, penalties for employers have jumped from $500 to $1,000, while remaining steady for workers and supervisors. Severe violations can now net employers a penalty of $2,500, up from $1,000; supervisors $750, not $500; and workers $150 rather than $100.

The initiative follows some lacklustre compliance results. In 2009, orders were written following 169 workplace inspections, but only 29 per cent of employers gave notice of compliance by the deadline. “This non-compliance contributes to increased workplace injuries and more claims costs,” the board points out. “It also results in increased administration costs, as safety officers are required to write additional warning letters requesting compliance and often [have] to re-inspect workplaces.”

The board also notes that “the focus of these actions is to make penalty levels sufficient to make it more cost-effective to fix the safety issue than to continue to pay penalties.”

To aid employers, the board is offering a compliance notification form on its website to allow users to submit written confirmation (including photos of corrected hazards) online.

My opinion

It looks the Yukon is coming into the 21st century. The increase in fines only goes to show that the current state of affairs in the Yukon is not working. The idea that so many companies are not in compliance is staggering and the increase inevitable.

I only hope the Yukon territory does not understate the concern by initiating such small increases. Yes, the time is right for the increases but did they get it right, enough to provide a deterrent? Time will tell.

Remember — In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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

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