A school board has been handed a $250,000 fine under the Ontario
Occupational Health and Safety Act after the death of
The maintenance worker had been assigned the task of replacing a
safety cage on a ceiling light in a high school gymnasium. He
was working alone. While he was rolling a portable aerial
device (a type of lifting device) down a ramp off a trailer, the
aerial device tipped over and struck the worker, fatally injuring
The angle of the ramp was about eight degrees, while the manual
for the aerial device stated that it should not be rolled down an
incline greater than five degrees.
The school board pleaded guilty to the OHSA charge of failing as
an employer to take every precaution reasonable in the
circumstances for the protection of a worker. In particular,
the school board failed to ensure that the angle of the ramp was
five degrees or less; that the aerial device was rolled down the
ramp with its mast on the upper or high end of the ramp to lessen
the possibility of it tipping; and that there was another worker
present to assist.
The court imposed the fine of $250,000 plus the 25% Victim Fine
Surcharge, for a total of $312,250. This appears to be the
largest fine ever in Ontario under the OHSA against a
not-for-profit or charitable organization. The case shows
that charities and not-for-profits are not immune from charges and
fines under occupational health and safety legislation.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour's Court Bulletin may be found
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