|A roundup of important new legislation, regulations, court cases and board rulings that we covered in 2013 in the OHS Insider newsletter.
LAW OF THE YEAR
New Flagger Requirements
Changes to the Workplace Safety and Health Regulation regarding “flagperson” requirements took effect on Feb. 1, 2013. The changes cover the definition of “flagperson,” training requirements, PPE and use of warning signs. It also bars flagpersons from using personal electronic devices, such as cell phones and MP3 players.
CASE OF THE YEAR
Driver Acquitted of Killing Flagger on Road Project
A driver struck and killed a flagger working on a repaving project. He was criminally charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death. There were orange cones and signs posted in the construction zone indicating the presence of workers and limiting the speed limit to 60 km/h. The worker had been wearing an orange safety vest and carrying a stop sign. But she may also have been wearing an iPod at the time. When the driver saw the flagger in the middle of the lane, he slammed on his brakes but they locked. The police estimated he was going at least 112 km/h. But the court concluded that excessive speed alone wasn’t enough to prove a marked departure from the driving of a reasonably prudent person, ruling that there was no evidence of anything unusual or potentially dangerous about his driving. So the court found him not guilty [R. v. Blostein,  M.J. No. 232, June 28, 2013].
Employer Fined $72,050 after Worker Is Crushed to Death by Bale of Paper
A bale of recycled paper fell on a worker while he was unloading a trailer, killing him. His employer pleaded guilty to failing to provide its workers necessary information, instruction or training on the hazards of unloading bales of paper from trailers and was fined $72,050 [Western Scrap Metals Inc., Govt. News Release, Dec. 11, 2012].
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