Workplace accidents – Five things to keep in mind when they occur
When a workplace injury occurs, the Ministry of Labour (MOL) decides whether to lay charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). If convicted of a charge, an employer can be ordered to pay a fine of up to $ 500, 000 plus a 25% victim surcharge.
If you want to know your obligations under OHSA, sign up for our seminar or webinar which is taking place on December 5, 2012 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. by clicking here.
If a worker has been injured at work, here are five things to keep in mind:
- Generally, the MOL is called when there is a fatality or critical injury at the workplace. The MOL sends an inspector to the workplace. One of the inspector’s jobs is to decide whether to charge the employer, a supervisor or a worker under OHSA. If there has been an injury, he will almost certainly recommend that someone be charged.
- Do not assume charges will be laid shortly after the accident. The MOL has one year to bring charges against an employer. It is not uncommon for the MOL to complete its investigation soon after the accident but decide not to charge an employer until just before this one year limitation period expires.
- An employer should provide the MOL inspector with any information that demonstrates the employer is safety conscious including documentation that shows the employer has provided safety information and instruction in connection with the job the worker was doing when he was injured.
- Think about hiring a lawyer to conduct an internal investigation.
- If convicted of a charge under OHSA, one of the factors a court will consider when determining a fine is specific and general deterrence. Fines of $ 50,000 to $ 100,000 for workplace accidents that result in relatively minor injuries are not uncommon.
In February 2017, after a 40 day trial, an Ontario trial judge ordered the RCMP to pay Peter Merrifield $100,000 in general damages, $41,000 in special damages, and $825,000 in legal costs. In doing so, the trial judge recognized the tort of harassment. For my blog on...read more
Wrongful Dismissal Update: How to Reduce Termination Pay for Employees Who Earn Variable Compensation
Some employees receive a large percentage of their total compensation in variable compensation. A much litigated issue is whether the employer is required to pay variable compensation to a terminated employee during the applicable notice period and if so how is this...read more
An arbitrator who upholds a grievance can reinstate the employee, or order the employer to pay the employee damages. In a 2018 arbitration case, Arbitrator Surdykowksi decided how to calculate damages for an employee who was not reinstated. Facts Dr. Bernard was a...read more