School Board Can’t Bar Access to Certain Areas for Safety Inspections

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A school JHSC designated a worker member to conduct inspections. But a school board policy barred access to boiler, mechanical and other utility areas by that member. It argued that these areas were hazardous and that the policy was necessary for the health and safety of the worker member. The union challenged this policy. The arbitrator ruled that the policy, although well-intentioned, went too far. There was no evidence that these areas were hazardous per se, especially to someone certified in health and safety issues. In addition, the board didn’t consider less drastic alternatives [Toronto Catholic District School Board v. Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Assn. (Inspection Policy Grievance), [2010] O.L.A.A. No. 269, May 17, 2010].