The 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.
First Reference Human Resources and Compliance Editor