Sufficient To Alert Worker's Supervisor - Not Worker Himself - To Hazard: OHSA Charge Dismissed

Author:Mr Adrian Miedema
Profession:Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP

An Ontario court has dismissed a charge against an employer of failing to acquaint a worker with a hazard, because the worker's supervisor knew of the hazard.

The charge was laid against Transgear Manufacturing under section 25(2)(d) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, which requires employers to "acquaint a worker or a person in authority over a worker with a hazard  . . ."

Justice of the Peace Ziegler, of the Ontario Court of Justice in Guelph, found that the injured worker's supervisor, the Maintenance Supervisor, was "in authority" over the injured worker and "not only does [the Maintenance Supervisor] have his ability to repair, maintain, lockout and partially lockout machines under his purview but he is also acquainted  with any hazard in the work . . ."

The court noted that "There is no offence under the Occupational Health and Safety Act which limits acquainting the named hazards to the worker only, it requires that the acquainting of the named hazards be either the worker 'or a person in authority over the worker'. Therefore I must read in the words 'or a person in authority over the worker' after the words 'acquaint a worker' in Count 3."

Interestingly, the court went on to convict Transgear of failing to provide sufficient "information, instruction and supervision" to the worker under section 25(2)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, apparently because that section dealt only with the awareness of the worker himself, not also of his...

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