The Occupational Health and Safety Act does not require
that workers be "contemporaneously supervised at all
times", an Ontario appeal judge has held, dismissing two
In a bizarre accident, an 18-year-old worker at a company that
washed cars prior to their sale at an auction, drove a vehicle into
a wash bay setting off a chain of collisions between two other cars
and resulting in another employee, further up the line, being
The worker had been told twice by a manager not to drive,
initially when he was hired and again on the day of the incident.
He admitted that he was aware of the safety policy of the appellant
that in order "To drive a vehicle on the property you must
have a valid driver's licence." He did not have a
He also admitted that he moved the car "in the heat of the
moment". At the time of the incident, there were no
supervisors in the wash bay; all of the workers had gone on a
At trial, the presiding justice of the peace stated that the
worker should not have been unsupervised for any period of time.
She said that the supervision was inadequate because the worker was
able to "circumvent this observation and supervision and drive
the motor vehicle" because everyone had gone on break and
therefore the system failed.
The appeal judge disagreed, holding that the Occupational
Health and Safety Act did not require that a supervisor always
be present. Because it was not the worker's job to drive, nor
was there any reason for the company to suspect that he would
drive, the employer was not required to provide him with
"information, instruction or supervision" in safe
operation or parking of vehicle.
The appeal was allowed, and the Occupational Health and
Safety Act charges of failing to instruct and supervise, and
failing to ensure that the worker had a valid driver's license,
were therefore dismissed.
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