The Corporation of the Town of Pelham was recently fined $60,000 after it failed to “provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker” as required by section 25(2)(a) of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act in relation to a 2011 incident involving a summer student worker.
For a full summary of this case, click here.
On August 25, 2011, a crew of summer students working for the Town of Pelham were repairing catch basins, the parts of storm drains which collect debris. A student was injured after a 150 pound basin lid propped up by a pickaxe held by another student fell and crushed the student’s hand. The students had not been shown how to conduct such repairs and had no supervisor. Instead, the students received instructions from a manager and were told to go out and perform the repairs alone.
In addition to the imposed fine, a 25% victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act was also imposed. The decision is noteworthy given the Ministry of Labour’s present blitz relating to new and young workers and the summer hiring season. It is a reminder that employers need to be particularly safety conscious with new and young workers who are not as experienced in the work world or in tune with all the safety aspects of their tasks.