An Ontario company was recently fined $250,000 and two of its
directors were each ordered to serve 25 days in jail as a result of
a workplace fatality.
According to an Ontario Ministry of Labour press release, on
January 18, 2013, an employee of New Mex Canada Inc. (an Ontario
company) was using a combination forklift/operator-up platform that
had been modified to include an additional platform. The added
platform did not have a guardrail around it and the employee was
not wearing fall protection or safety shoes. The employee was found
dead on the floor beside the modified equipment and the cause of
death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head.
The Ministry of Labour investigation found multiple violations
under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (the
Act) and the regulation relating to industrial establishments (the
Regulation), including the absence of health and safety training
provided to the workers in the warehouse and the provision of
The Regulation applies to industrial workplaces and requires
that workers who are exposed to the hazard of falling more than
three metres must wear fall-protection equipment including a safety
belt or harness. The Act requires employers to ensure that the
safety measures prescribed by the Regulation are carried out in the
Convictions for the Company and Directors
The two directors pleaded guilty to failing, as directors, to
take reasonable care that the company complied with the Act and the
Regulation. Both directors were sentenced to 25 days in jail and
ordered to take a health and safety course within 60 days of being
New Mex Canada Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to provide
information, instruction and supervision to a worker regarding
fall-protection and/or working from a height as well as failing as
an employer to ensure the safety measures required by law were
carried out. The company was fined $250,000.
This decision is a stark reminder of the importance of health
and safety in the workplace, and the serious consequences for the
various workplace parties, which includes not only the employer and
its directors, but also supervisors, constructors and workers, for
failing to fulfill their obligations under applicable occupational
health and safety legislation.
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.
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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).