Overcoming the hurdles in managing workers’ compensation claims

June 12, 2016 - by: David Marchione 0 COMMENTS

by David Marchione, OHS Consultant/Paralegal

Many employers struggle to efficiently manage workers’ compensation claims. Most provincial experience rating programs established by workers’ compensation boards are based on two things: claim costs and claim duration. Thus, a failure by an employer to efficiently manage a claim can result in increased costs and increased duration of the claim, thus leading to a negative impact on the employer’s experience rating. The situation is further complicated by the fact that managing a worker’s return to work often becomes more difficult as time passes. read more…

Healthcare workers’ longer hours don’t necessarily increase health, safety risks

May 15, 2016 - by: Rosalind Cooper 0 COMMENTS

by Rosalind H. Cooper

Most employers know that there are restrictions under employment standards legislation regarding maximum hours of work for their employees. In certain circumstances, it is possible to exceed these daily or weekly maximums. However, care must be exercised when doing so in order to avoid a breach of the employer’s duties under occupational health and safety legislation. This issue was explored in the recent Ontario decision of Durham (Regional Municipality) v. Canadian Union of Public Employees. read more…

Workplace health through a new lens: steps to promote psychological well-being

February 14, 2016 - by: Cathy Chandler 0 COMMENTS

by Cathy Chandler

The workplace can play an essential role in helping individuals maintain positive mental health. However, it also can be a stressful environment that may contribute to mental health issues and illness. In a 2009 study three out of 10 Canadian employees reported that their work environments were not psychologically safe or healthy. Mental health is an important occupational health and safety issue, but many organizations have no system or process in place to address workplace psychological risks and stressors.

Employers’ legal obligations

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Project manager sentenced to 3.5-year jail term in Metron swing stage collapse

January 31, 2016 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

by Norm Keith, Christina Hall, and Shane Todd

“… [A] significant term of imprisonment is necessary to reflect the terrible consequences of the offences and to make it unequivocally clear that persons in positions of authority in potentially dangerous workplaces have a serious obligation to take all reasonable steps to ensure that those who arrive for work in the morning will make it safely back to their homes and families …” – R. v Vadim Kazenelson, 2016 ONSC 25 (CanLII), para. 45

These scathing words were written by Justice MacDonnell in the January 11, 2016, sentencing decision in R. v Vadim Kazenelson. In this decision, Kazenelson, a construction project manager, was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for five convictions of criminal negligence relating to the collapse of a swing stage that led to the death of four construction workers in Ontario. Kazenelson had earlier been found guilty of committing these offenses following a trial. read more…

Managing the risks posed by distracted driving

December 20, 2015 - by: Carla Oliver 0 COMMENTS

by Carla Oliver

We’ve all seen it. Maybe when looking around while stuck in stop-and-go traffic on a highway. Maybe when noticing that a car in front of us doesn’t move when the traffic light turns green. It’s the distracted driver—texting away on his or her handheld device instead of paying attention to the traffic and road conditions.

Distracted driving has become one of the most dangerous hazards on our roads today. In most provinces in Canada, fatalities caused by distracted driving have now exceeded the fatalities caused by both impaired driving and speeding. The Canadian Automobile Association has published statistics noting that a driver texting on a cell phone is 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident or near accident than a nondistracted driver. read more…

Project manager convicted of criminal negligence

October 04, 2015 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

by Norm Keith and Shane D. Todd

As another reminder of the importance of health and safety in all workplaces all across Canada, we report on the continuing legal saga involving the December 2009 fatalities at Metron Construction.

On June 26, 2015, Vadim Kazenelson, the project manager overseeing a construction project for Metron, was found guilty of five counts of criminal negligence in relation to a quadruple fatality on the project. As we approach the end of the Metron saga, we look back on the accident, the charges that flowed from it, and the impact on health and safety advice for employers. read more…

Occupational health and safety due diligence defense alive and well

June 21, 2015 - by: Rosalind Cooper 0 COMMENTS

by Rosalind H. Cooper

A recent case involving charges against a company under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act has confirmed that the defense of due diligence is alive and well. The defense of due diligence—which may allow employers to avoid a conviction under occupational health and safety legislation—can be difficult to establish. Even in cases where a worker is injured as a result of his or her own misconduct, the defense cannot always be made out. But in the right factual circumstances, it is still possible to successfully advance the due diligence defense notwithstanding the high standard applied. read more…

Health and safety laws broadened to cover unpaid positions

January 18, 2015 - by: Carla Oliver 0 COMMENTS

by Carla Oliver

Ontario recently broadened the definition of “worker” under its Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). The broadened definition is consistent with a trend across Canada. read more…

Employers need to understand injury reporting obligations

June 15, 2014 - by: Rosalind Cooper 0 COMMENTS

By Rosalind H. Cooper

In most provinces across Canada, occupational health and safety legislation requires that employers and other workplace parties report injuries and incidents to the appropriate government ministry.

While most reporting requirements relate to workplace injuries, there are also requirements to report certain types of incidents regardless of whether there is an associated injury. Most of these legislative provisions require strict compliance with tight reporting timelines. read more…

Hiring new and young staff this summer? Think safety first!

June 08, 2014 - by: Deanah Shelly 0 COMMENTS

By Deanah Shelly

A few summers ago, Ontario employers were surprised by a monthlong young worker safety inspection blitz. During the blitz, Ontario Ministry of Labour inspectors visited 2,024 workplaces across Ontario and issued 5,862 orders. Of those, 105 were stop-work orders, forcing workplaces to stop production until they complied with the listed requirements.

On May 1, 2014, the Ontario Ministry of Labour began yet another blitz — this time for four months and again focused on new and young worker safety. While this blitz is an Ontario initiative, many provinces across Canada are taking similar proactive measures to improve safety in the workplace for this group of vulnerable workers. read more…

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