An Ontario court has ordered two corporate directors to serve 25
days in jail for failing to take reasonable care to ensure that
their company, New Mex Canada Inc., complied with the Ontario
Occupational Health and Safety Act and regulations.
The directors and their company pleaded guilty to the charges.
In addition to jail time for the directors, the company was fined
$250,000 plus a 25% victim fund surcharge.
The charges came after the Ministry of Labour investigated the
death of a worker in January 2013. The worker was operating a
combination forklift and operator-up platform which had been
modified to add an additional platform supported by the forks. This
additional platform had no railings and the worker was not wearing
fall protection. The worker was found dead after apparently falling
from the platform.
During the investigation, the warehouse workers indicated that
there was no health and safety training in the workplace and no
fall protection equipment was provided. The Ministry of Labour
investigators found several other health and safety violations in
Jail sentences are relatively rare in Canadian occupational
health and safety cases, even more so where the accused is
convicted in the capacity as corporate director. This decision
serves as a reminder to corporate directors that there are serious
consequences for failing to ensure that their companies comply with
health and safety obligations.
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