A supervisor's Occupational Health and Safety Act
conviction of failing to sufficiently and competently supervise
work has been upheld on appeal, after a concrete worker died.
The supervisor operated and managed a concrete business. He was
hired to pour a concrete floor in a newly constructed shop. They
used a gas heater to heat the area. The supervisor became aware
that the gas supply hose to the heater produced an electric shock
when touched. He warned workers but did not fix the problem.
The worker, who had been trowelling concrete, was later found
lying on the floor near the gas heater. He was later pronounced
dead. The treating doctor observed two red areas on his skin, which
were consistent with electrocution.
The prosecutor's theory at trial was that the worker died
from electrocution. The supervisor suggested that the death was
from carbon monoxide poisoning from the gas heater so that the
charge, based on electrocution, should be dismissed. Both the trial
judge and Court of Appeal disagreed, holding that the contention
that the worker died from carbon monoxide poisoning was speculative
and not supported by the evidence.
The Court of Appeal further noted that the charge did not
specify what "hazard" caused the death, and accordingly
the prosecutor did not need to prove the cause. As such, the
supervisor was properly convicted of the "failure to
supervise" charge under the OHSA.
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