A skier suffers a broken arm. A student is knocked unconscious during a physical education class. A patient dies while in hospital. Aside from being sad and unfortunate events, incidents such as these are generally not seen as attracting an obligation to report the matter to health and safety authorities. That is no longer the case as a result of a recent OHS decision involving Blue Mountain. On May 18, 2011, the Ontario Divisional Court upheld an Ontario Labour Relations Board decision that determined that all fatal and critical injuries, occurring to a "person" at a workplace, should be reported to the Ministry of Labour.
The decision establishes very broad obligations which arise notwithstanding that a fatality or critical injury does not involve a worker and is not work related and, therefore, has the potential to significantly impact numerous Ontario employers and constructors who are obligated to both report and preserve the scene of the fatality or critical injury pursuant to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
In a recent OHS & Workers' Compensation Management Update my colleague, Cheryl Edwards, and I provide a detailed discussion of this important decision along with some practical suggestions for managing its potential consequences.
It should be noted that a couple of developments that have arisen since that piece was published. First, Blue Mountain is seeking leave to appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal and, second, we understand that the Ministry of Labour no longer intends to prepare the consolidated reporting regulation mentioned in the article.