|A roundup of important new legislation, regulations, court cases and board rulings that we covered in 2012 in the Safety Compliance Insider.
CASE OF THE YEAR
Wal-Mart Hit with Record Fine of $120,000 in Young Worker’s Electrocution
A 17-year-old worker was electrocuted while using a floor buffing and polishing machine on the wet floor of a garage at a Wal-Mart. The floor polisher had been bought by one of the other technicians at a yard sale. But the store hadn’t authorized its use or trained the technicians on it. In addition, it wasn’t inspected monthly, although the technicians’ supervisor knew it was being used. Wal-Mart pleaded guilty to three OHS violations and a supervisor pleaded guilty to two violations. The court fined the company $120,000—the highest fine ever imposed in the province for a safety violation—and the supervisor $880 [Wal-Mart Canada and Denis Morin, March 21, 2012].
Injury Suffered by Worker after He Quit Covered by Workers’ Comp
A worker quit his job on Aug. 20. He returned to the workplace on Aug. 24 to return some items and clean out his personal belongings from the employer’s truck. While doing so, he hurt his right shoulder. His workers’ comp claim for the injury was rejected as he suffered it after his last day of work and while performing a non-work-related task. But the Appeals Panel ruled that returning toll money and keys to the employer and cleaning out the employer’s truck were actions that are incidental to employment. So the worker’s injury was compensable [Re: 20126400,  CanLII 21141 (NB WHSCC), April 18, 2012.
Nurse’s Illness Caused by Exposure to Mould at Work
A nurse at a nursing home reported respiratory problems, headaches, fatigue and other symptoms. Her doctor concluded that her illness was from “chronic workplace mould exposure.” Her workers’ comp claim was denied. But the Appeals Tribunal ruled that there was no evidence to suggest that the nurse’s allergic reaction was created by anything other than toxic mould exposure in the workplace. Her symptoms increased when she entered known problems areas at the nursing home and quickly receded when she left work. Thus, it was more likely than not that the workplace caused her illness [Re: 20116278,  CanLII 7255 (NB WHSCC), Feb. 6, 2012].
Injury While Preparing Truck at Home for Trip Was Work-Related
A long-haul truck driver was home when his employer called, requiring him to take a two-day trip. As the driver inspected his truck and loaded it with supplies in his driveway, he slipped and fell, injuring his back. His workers’ comp claim was denied on the grounds that he wasn’t acting in the course of his employment when he was hurt. The court disagreed. The driver was paid for the time he spent preparing his truck for a trip. And he was required to inspect and stock the truck pre-trip [LeBlanc v. Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission,  NBCA 82 (CanLII), Sept. 20, 2012].
Three Companies Fined $35,000 for Young Worker’s Death
A 25-year-old worker died when he was struck by a large dumpster bin that came loose from a truck as it was being emptied. Three companies pleaded guilty to failing to provide adequate supervision and training to ensure the health and safety of its workers. The court fined them $35,000 [Dominion Refuse, TwoEx Capital Inc. and Mar Mor Enterprises Inc., Govt. News Release, July 26, 2012].
Worker Crushed by Unattended Dump Truck
A trucking company’s worker was delivering cement powder to a quarry. As he was standing on the steps of the truck’s cab putting on his safety footwear, an unattended dump truck on a ramp started to roll because its driver didn’t park it on level ground and remove the key. The dump truck struck the worker’s truck, crushing him in between. The employer of the driver of the unattended dump truck pleaded guilty to a safety violation and was fined $25,000 [Blanchard Ready Mix Ltd., March 28, 2012].
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