OHS Insider Month in Review – September 2017: Ontario

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LAWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS

Fall Protection
Oct. 1: Heads-up to employers who got a working at heights training extension: Today is the day you need to ensure that workers have received MOL-approved training before allowing them to work at heights at construction projects.

Workplace Violence
Aug. 16: Seven years after Bill 168 took effect, an employer has finally been fined for violating it. The price tag: $75K. A patient with a history of attacking staff repeatedly stabbed a nurse with a pen. The hospital should have recognized the patient was violent and that its previous violence hazard assessment was inadequate and needed to be revised as required by Bill 168 (now Section 32.0.3(4) of the OHS Act) [Royal Ottawa Health Care Group, Ontario Ct. of Justice, Aug. 16, 2017].

OHS Scorecard
Other OHS fines from August thru mid-September:

Fine Offender Offence(s)
$200,000 Glencore Canada Corp. (operator of Nick Rim South Mine) Failure to  properly instruct worker who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt while operating a load haul dump machine causing him to get thrown out of and fatally run over by the machine
$125,000 + $5,000 M. Belanger Ltd. +

a supervisor

Failure to properly slope trench which collapsed injuring a worker; supervisor guilty of failing to ensure victim had needed protective devices
$120,000 Maple Leaf Foods Inc. Failure to ensure safe moving of materials—worker hit by falling pallet while trying to clear jam during dumping of deboned chicken
$100,000 Town of Innisfil Shelving unit being loaded onto truck falls off forks and lands on worker crushing him to death;  town fined for failing to ensure competent person acting as signaller was directing traffic
$70,000 Entegrus Powerlines Inc. 2 workers suffer electrical burns while charging new switch on utility pole; contractor fined for failing to ensure competent person acting as a dedicated observer was in place to monitor operation
$55,000 Concord Premium Meats Ltd. Young worker breaks ankle after his forklift collided with the meat being moved; company fined for failure to take forklift safety measures, e.g., using warning signs and barriers, and keeping floors and surfaces clear and unobstructed

 

OELs
Aug. 2: Changes to Occupational Exposure Limit regulations were approved and take effect on Jan. 1, 2018. Highlights:

  • Addition of OELs for 4 substances—Cyanogen bromide, Ethyl isocyanate, Peracetic acid and Pheny isocyanate
  • Revised OELs for Acetone, Atrazine, Barium sulfate, Beryllium, 1-Bromopropane, Ethylidene norbornene, Lithium hydride, Methomyl, Methyl formate, Methyl isocyanate, Naphthalene, Nickel carbonyl, Oxalic Acid, Pentachlorophenol, Pentane, and Trichloroacetic acid, 1,2,3 – Trichloropropane and Triethylamine
  • Increase minimum oxygen content in formula for determining need for ventilation based on atmospheric pressure from 18% to 19.5%.

Aluminum
Aug.: There’s no scientific evidence that exposure to aluminum causes general adverse health effects; but the question of whether exposure to McIntyre Powder to neurological conditions remains unresolved. That’s the conclusion of an independent research report commissioned by the WSIB in reviewing its current policy on occupational aluminum exposure, dementia and Alzheimer’s (Policy 16-01-10). So far, the agency hasn’t made any actual policy changes in response to the report. But stay tuned. . .

Workers’ Compensation
Aug.: The WSIB released its Administration Rate adjustments for 2016. Explanation: At the start of each year, WSIB sets a Provisional Administration Rate that it uses to calculate the monthly administration charges employers should pay for the year. The agency then adjusts the rate when it finishes its year-end financials on the basis of the actual figures. In 2016, the Provisional Rate was higher than actual administrative expenses. Bottom Line: Schedule 2 employers are getting a credit.  Had it been the other way around, they would have been hit with a one-time charge.