We don't often hear of Occupational Health and Safety
Act charges against suppliers alleging that
their machines or equipment were unsafe for use in
In a recent case, Occupational Health and Safety Act
charges against a supplier, alleging that a machine that it
supplied did not comply with the guarding requirements of that Act,
were permitted to proceed to trial before a Saskatchewan court.
The Saskatchewan OHSA, in section 8(a)(ii), imposes a duty on
every "supplier" to ensure, insofar as is reasonably
practicable, that any "plant" supplied by the supplier
for use at any place of employment complies with the regulations
under the OHSA. "Plant" is defined to include
A regulation under the Saskatchewan OHSA required that,
"Where a worker is required to feed material into a
material-forming press, punch, shear or similar machine, an
employer or supplier shall" install safeguards to prevent the
worker from contacting moving parts.
The supplier argued that the the grain extractor was not a
material-forming press, punch, shear or similar machine, nor was a
worker required to "feed material" into the grain
extractor. Rather, according to the supplier, the grain
extractor was a moving shaft that attached to a grain bag.
The court, however, stated that "No evidence was presented on
this point", and that the issue was better left to the trial
This decision illustrates that suppliers – and not only
employers and constructors – can have duties under
occupational health and safety legislation – duties that can
lead to charges and significant fines if breached.
31(1) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act
also places duties on a supplier who "supplies any machine,
device, tool or equipment under any rental, leasing or similar
arrangement for use in or about a workplace".
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