A skier suffers a broken arm while skiing. A student is briefly knocked unconscious during a physical education class. A patient dies while in hospital. Aside from being sad and unfortunate events, incidents such as these are generally not seen as attracting an obligation to report the matter to health and safety authorities. That is no longer the case as a result of a recent OHS decision. On May 18, 2011, the Ontario Divisional Court upheld an Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) decision that determined that all fatal and critical injuries, occurring to a person at a workplace should be reported to the Ministry of Labour.
The decision has the potential to significantly impact numerous Ontario employers and constructors, who are obligated to both report and preserve the scene of the injury as set out in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). The circumstances leading to the decision, its potential ramifications, and practical steps organizations may take to manage their obligations in such cases, are discussed below.
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