Workplace accidents: Whose fault are they?

Nov 27, 2012

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:

  1. 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.
  1.  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.
  1. 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.
  1. Think about hiring a lawyer to conduct an internal investigation.
  1. 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.

If you have any employment law questions, please call us at 1–888-640-1728 or email us at [email protected]. You can follow us on twitter or subscribe to our employment law blog 

The material and information in this blog and this website are for general information only. They should not be relied on as legal advice or opinion. The authors make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of any information referred to in this blog or its links. No person should act or refrain from acting in reliance on any information found on this website or blog. Readers should obtain appropriate professional advice from a lawyer duly licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. These materials do not create a lawyer-client relationship between you and any of the authors or the MacLeod Law Firm.

 

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