Occupational Health and Safety Act Employer Liability Issues

News & Analysis as of

New Employer Duties under Ontario’s Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan

Bill 132, Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment), 2015 (Bill) contemplates amendments to six pieces of legislation, including Ontario’s...more

Experts Alone Cannot Save You - Australia Labour, Employment Workplace Safety Alert

A recent decision by the NSW Industrial Court (Court) is a further reminder that businesses can't hide behind appointed experts or delegate their safety obligations and responsibilities to others. It is also a reminder that...more

Recent Amendments to the Workers Compensation Act give WorkSafeBC Enhanced Compliance Powers

Recent changes to the Workers Compensation Act in British Columbia (the Act) significantly enhance WorkSafeBC’s ability to enforce occupational health and safety compliance. These include...more

Arbitrator Strikes Down Employer’s Total Ban On Smoking During Shift

Starting in January 2015, the employer – which manufactured wire and cable products – banned smoking anywhere on company property, including outside of the plant. Employees were also prohibited from leaving company property...more

Ontario MOL Releases 2015-16 Safety Inspection Blitz Schedule

The Ontario Ministry of Labour has released its schedule of workplace inspection blitzes for the period from May 2015 to March 2016. The schedule gives employers advance notice of what MOL inspectors will look for when they...more

Even “inspecting” equipment is “working on it”: employer guilty of OHSA charge where employees had not even started maintenance...

A maintenance electrician had “worked on” a stuck shipping door when he simply “inspected” it, even though he had not actually performed maintenance on it, a court has ruled. He was injured when the door fell on him. The...more

“Flagrant disregard” of OHSA, failure to report, gets construction company convicted on 5 OHSA charges

A construction company that tried to blame a worker’s fall on his untied boots, has been found guilty of all 5 charges against it under Saskatchewan’s The Occupational Health and Safety Act. The 18-year-old worker, who had...more

“Who is a supervisor?” Ontario Ministry of Labour releases guideline

Employers often struggle with the question of who is a “supervisor” under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act. The answer to that question is obviously important because supervisors have legal duties under the...more

Mere posting of standard operating procedure was not enough: OLRB refuses to suspend MOL inspector’s training order

Employers often post new procedures in the workplace without providing formal training.  A recent decision of the Ontario Labour Relations Board suggests that for some work procedures, posting is not enough; rather, training...more

“Not the right fit”? Fired hours after MOL inspector’s visit, employee awarded $19,000 in damages

Employers who have bona fide reasons for dismissing an employee should avoid using “not the right fit”. They should also show up at Ontario Labour Relations Board hearings. An employer that dismissed an employee hours after a...more

Supervisor fined after workers exposed to asbestos dust

A supervisor with an asbestos abatement company, and his employer, have pleaded guilty to charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and were fined, after workers were exposed to asbestos dust on a job site....more

Employer Who Voluntarily Complied with MOL Inspector’s Orders Was Not Entitled to Suspension of Orders Pending Appeal

The Ontario Labour Relations Board has held that where an employer had complied with a Ministry of Labour inspector’s compliance orders under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, to the satisfaction of the MOL, the...more

OLRB Agrees to Hear Another Harassment Case

The debate continues as to whether the Ontario Labour Relations Board has jurisdiction to hear harassment-reprisal complaints under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, but another Vice-Chair of the OLRB has said “yes”....more

Two company directors jailed 25 days after worker dies, no safety training provided

Rarely are senior corporate officials jailed for health and safety offences in Canada.  But recently, two company directors of an importer and retailer of furniture and accessories, were jailed for 25 days after a worker died...more

“Discipline” included “dismissal”: employer did not breach safety-reprisal settlement when it dismissed employee after harassment...

An employer that dismissed an employee after a harassment investigation did not breach a previous safety-reprisal settlement with the employee, the Ontario Labour Relations Board has held. In effect, the employer never...more

No damages awarded for unforeseeable workplace assault, but employer ordered to rewrite harassment policy

The fact that an employee had engaged in harassment did not make it foreseeable that he would assault a coworker, a labour arbitrator has held. However, the company’s harassment policy was deficient and needed to be...more

“Everyone just knew” was not a defence to OHSA charges: court

An employer’s assertion that “everyone just knew” the safety rules, was not a defence to charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, an Ontario court has held. The employer’s “casual, oral practice” – without a...more

Ontario’s New Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation: Are You Compliant?

Beginning on July 1, 2014, employers in Ontario will have an added responsibility of ensuring that all workers and all supervisors in all workplaces that fall subject to the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)...more

What’s The Risk Of Not Foreseeing Safety? In Today’s Industry, One Must Endeavour To Pinpoint Workplace Hazards And Then Strive To...

It’s commonplace to say that “careful planning” is an obvious and vital element of any construction project, but it’s only the first foreseeable step in prevention. As all involved in 21st century construction are (or should...more

Company Convicted Of OHSA Charges After Criminal Negligence Charges Withdrawn In Fatality

A crane rental company has been convicted of charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and fined, after criminal negligence charges against it were withdrawn....more

Part-Owner Of Company Convicted, Fined Personally Under OHSA

Company owners are not immune from potential convictions and fines under workplace safety laws....more

No Automatic OHSA Liability After Equipment-Failure Accident: Charge Dismissed Where Use Of Equipment Not “Likely”

Employers are not required to anticipate all safety hazards, however unforeseeable. A recent case illustrates this point. In a tragic accident, a worker died when a brace (which formed part of a makeshift winch used to...more

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