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Organization fined for violating OHSA after a worker was injured

dollarsignThe Ontario Ministry of Labour recently emailed their latest Court Bulletin indicating that a company that makes plastic auto parts received a hefty fine of $50,000 for violating the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

Essentially, a lift-truck operator was transporting stacked materials into a building when the stack of containers became unbalanced due to a build-up of snow and ice, crashing into the loading door and injuring a worker inside.

The Ministry of Labour concluded after its investigation that the company failed to keep the ground in the area clear of accumulated ice and snow. As a result, the company was guilty under the Act and was subject to a fine of $50,000. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25 percent victim fine surcharge on the total, pursuant to the Provincial Offences Act; this money was put in a government fund to assist victims of crime.

The lesson for employers here is clear: employers have a duty to keep the floor or other surfaces that are used by workers free of obstructions, hazards and accumulation of refuse, snow or ice. Employers are recommended to create a workplace policy that requires assigned workers to check potential danger areas at a certain frequency to ensure that the ground is free of these threatening obstacles.

Christina Catenacci
First Reference Human Resources and Compliance Editor

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Christina Catenacci

Christina Catenacci, BA, LLB, LLM, was called to the Ontario Bar in 2002 and has since been a member of the Ontario Bar Association. Christina worked as an editor with First Reference between February 2005 and August 2015, working on publications including The Human Resources Advisor (Ontario, Western and Atlantic editions), HRinfodesk discussing topics in Labour and Employment Law. Christina has decided to pursue a PhD at the University of Western Ontario beginning in the fall of 2015. Read more
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