An Ontario justice of the peace has held that an employer's
safety manual was defective, and has convicted the employer of four
charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The employer was charged after a worker was seriously injured
when he was hit by the bucket of an excavator while working in a
trench removing old pipes and replacing them with new ones.
The charges alleged a failure to adequately train the worker,
and failure to provide a competent, dedicated signaller who was
clear of the intended path of travel of the equipment.
The court stated that:
"[T]his court views the contents of the corporate Safety
Manual and the smaller Employee Safety and Environmental Handbook
to be lacking in efficiency. There was no reference to mandated
signals to be a standard use of communication between all
construction workers. The Safety Manual had a very short
description about the use of a ladder [to exit the trench].
There was conflicting information about the use of a 'top
man' at the work site. There was no specific testimony which
established that the employees were aware of the content of every
safety and health instruction in the Safety Manual."
The justice of the peace also stated that, "The employee
handbook has no written instruction regarding the role of a
signaller. Although there was evidence that the employer had issued
oral instructions at a "tailgate meeting", those
instructions were not sufficient.
This decision illustrates the importance of employers
ensuring that their safety manuals cover, with the appropriate
level of detail, the key safety issues for that employer's
workplace. In this case, signalling was obviously key in the
employer's business, but it was covered inadequately in the
safety manual. An inadequate safety manual can actually be used
against the employer at trial, rather than assist in establishing a
due diligence defence.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Only going to one mining investment show? Make it this one. PDAC International Convention, Trade Show & Investors Exchange is the world’s leading convention for people, companies and organizations in, or connected with, mineral exploration.
The four-day annual convention held in Toronto, Canada, has grown in size, stature and influence since it began in 1932 and today is the event of choice for the world’s mineral industry. In addition to meeting over 900 exhibitors, 22,000 attendees from over 125 countries, it allows you the opportunity to attend technical sessions, short courses as well as social and networking events.
On February 1, 2017, the Ontario Human Rights Commission released a policy statement that seeks to clarify the type and scope of the medical information that employees need to provide to their employers to support disability-related requests for accommodation.
Throughout an employee's time with an employer, there are many occasions where the employer will be required to have the employee complete forms or other documents for third parties, or where the employer must complete forms themselves for third parties.
How do you know when an employee has quit her job? It may seem like a simple question, but the answer recently eluded an Ontario employer, who improperly took an employee's apparent resignation at face value.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).