An Ontario Appeal judge has upheld an employer's conviction
under the Occupational Health and Safety Act for
failure to "block" a machine, after the trial justice
held that "blocking" required a physical block, not
simply shutting off the hydraulic power.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour had charged the company with
failing to ensure that a "part of a machine, transmission
machinery, device or thing shall be cleaned, oiled, adjusted,
repaired or have maintenance work performed on it only when . .
. any part that has been stopped and that may subsequently
move and endanger a worker has been blocked to prevent its
movement", contrary to section 75(b) of the
Industrial Establishments regulation under the OHSA.
A maintenance worker with the company, which operated a sawmill,
suffered crushing injuries to his arm as he reached in between the
"side heads" of a saw while performing maintenance.
Another employee, not knowing that the maintenance worker had
gone into the area between the side heads, had used the control box
for the machine to close the side heads.
The machine had been shut down for maintenance and its
electrical system had been locked out. However, the
maintenance worker left the hydraulics on, which was required in
order to move the side heads for maintenance.
The appeal court held that the trial justice had not erred in
deciding that "blocking" required a physical block be
used to restrain movement of the side heads. It was
reasonable to interpret "blocking" to require that a
physical block, a "large solid piece of hard material" be
The conviction was therefore upheld. The appeal judge also held
that the $48,000 fine was reasonable, despite the fact that the
company had only 25 workers and no previous convictions under the
Dentons is the world's first polycentric global law firm. A
top 20 firm on the Acritas 2015 Global Elite Brand Index, the Firm
is committed to challenging the status quo in delivering consistent
and uncompromising quality and value in new and inventive ways.
Driven to provide clients a competitive edge, and connected to the
communities where its clients want to do business, Dentons knows
that understanding local cultures is crucial to successfully
completing a deal, resolving a dispute or solving a business
challenge. Now the world's largest law firm, Dentons'
global team builds agile, tailored solutions to meet the local,
national and global needs of private and public clients of any size
in more than 125 locations serving 50-plus countries.
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. Specific Questions relating to
this article should be addressed directly to the author.
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.
On Thursday, September 22, 2016, Dentons hosted a panel discussion about the management of liabilities and risks associated with environmental crises, including potential liabilities for directors and officers and provided insight into risk and liability techniques associated with environmental crisis management.
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).