|A roundup of important new legislation, regulations, court cases and board rulings that we covered in 2012 in the Safety Compliance Insider.
[box]Newfoundland and Labrador[/box]
LAW OF THE YEAR
As of Jan. 1, 2013, workers operating in confined spaces are required to have completed training with an approved confined space entry training provider. The new training will be valid for three years from the date of completion.
OTHER NOTABLE REGULATORY CHANGES
Workers’ Comp Review
In Jan. 2012, the government announced the start of the WHSCC statutory review, which is required to be done every five years under the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act.
Regulations regarding the safety of workers in the mining industry took effect on March 20, 2012. The new regulations were incorporated as additional sections under the OHS Regulations, 2012 to make all OHS requirements for all industries accessible in one place.
Offshore Oil Safety
In March, the federal government said it was still considering whether a separate offshore safety agency in Newfoundland and Labrador would be best for oil workers. The province has supported the call for safety oversight separate from the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board.
CASE OF THE YEAR
NL Court Looked at What Qualifies as Due Diligence for Training & Supervision
While working along a public highway, a flagger got too close to an excavator operated by a co-worker. He was run over by it and crushed to death. His employer was charged with several OHS violations, including failing to provide proper information, instruction, training and supervision to workers at the site. The court convicted the company. It concluded that although there was evidence that the company provided some instruction and supervision to workers, it was minimal and not to the extent required to prove due diligence [R. v. Concord Paving Ltd.,  CanLII 31899 (NL PC), June 8, 2012].
New Evidence of Worker’s Exposures Warranted Reopening Claim
A worker claimed that he suffered from nasal polyps and sinusitis caused by exposure to coal and stone dust during his employment as a mechanic in a mine. His workers’ comp claim was denied. The worker then provided new information about his exposure to “shotcrete,” a cement-based product sprayed on the mine’s walls. The Tribunal ruled that this new evidence warranted reopening the decision on his claim. It found that his condition was an occupational disease covered by workers’ comp. The mine appealed. A court upheld the Tribunal’s decision. It was reasonable for the Tribunal to conclude that this case was appropriate for reconsideration and to find that the worker’s exposure to shotcrete caused his medical condition, said the court [Enterprise Cape Breton Corp. v. Southwell,  N.S.J. No. 107, March 1, 2012].
Company Penalized $50,000 for Death of Flagger
Aflagger got too close to an excavator operated by a co-worker. He was run over by it and crushed to death. His employer was convicted of several OHS violations. In sentencing the company, the court noted that this conviction was the its second offence. But the company, which was small and family-run, didn’t totally disregard its safety duties. So the court fined the company $35,000 and ordered it to pay $15,000 to the Ministry for educating employers and workers on the safe conduct of a flagger’s duties [R. v. Concord Paving Ltd.,  CanLII 49525 (NL PC), Aug. 28, 2012].
Roofing Company Director Fined $1,250 For Fall Protection Violations
After an inspection of a construction site, a roofing company and a company director were charged with OHS violations. The company pleaded guilty to OHS violations and was fined $2,000. The director pleaded guilty to failing, as a supervisor, to ensure another worker wore fall protection and that his own fall arrest system was properly secured. He was fined $1,250 [Oceanside Roofing Inc., Govt. News Release, Sept. 14, 2012].
Chicken Processing Facility Fined $20,000 for Partial Amputation of Hand
A worker at a chicken processing facility was cleaning a machine when his hand was partially amputated. The facility pleaded guilty to failing to ensure its workers and supervisors were familiar with health or safety hazards and that equipment was used according to safe work practices. The court fined the facility $10,000 for each charge and ordered it to pay $2,000 to be used for public OHS education [Country Ribbon Inc., Govt. News Release, June 22, 2012].
Workers Fined for Fall Protection Violations
During an inspection of a home construction site, an OHS officer saw workers on the roof using fall protection equipment incorrectly. Although they wore harnesses, the harnesses weren’t attached to anchorages. But their employer had provided the required fall protection training to all four workers. They pleaded guilty to fall protection violations. The court fined three workers $500 each and the fourth, who also held supervisory duties, $750 [Govt. News Release, May 22, 2012].
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