Workplace Safety and Ontario MOL Updates

The Ministry of Labour recently updated its interpretation of the term “critical injury” with particular attention on clauses 1(d) and 1(e) of the Ontario Health Safety Act.

Under OHSA, a “critical injury” is defined as an injury, serious in nature, that

(a)       puts life in jeopardy;

(b)       results in a state of unconsciousness;

(c)       causes substantial loss of blood;

(d)       involves a fracture of either a hand, leg or arm (but does not include a fracture of a toe or finger);

(e)       involves the amputation of a hand, arm, foot or leg foot (but does not include the amputation of a finger or toe);

(f)        causes burns to a majority of the body; or

(g)       results in the loss of sight in either eye.

The Ministry of Labour has clarified its interpretation of Clause 1(d) to reflect that while the fracture of a single toe or finger is not a “critical injury” the fracture of more than one toe or finger does indeed constitute a “critical injury.”

What It Means for Employers

The OHSA’s clarification means companies should expect inspectors to apply the broader definition when evaluating the workplace. To remain on the right side of the interpretation, an increased frequency of safety audits is a wise, preventative move.

Safety Audits

When conducting a safety audit, focus on these three workplace elements:

  • environment including potential hazards such as ventilation, lighting, temperature, noise or vibration;
  • equipment including all machines, tools and materials; and
  • procedures involving how workers interact with the equipment and the environment when completing duties associated with their on-the-job responsibilities.

In the event of injury, employers are expected to fulfill the following obligations:

  • immediately notify an inspector with the Ministry of Labour, the health and safety representative – or joint health and safety committee – as well as the union;
  • send a written report outlining the circumstances surrounding the occurrence to a Ministry of Labour Director within 48 hours of the incident; and
  • maintain the integrity of the place of injury, ensuring the location remains unaltered in anyway.

To find out more about workplace safety and what you can do, contact the health and safety specialists at Employment Professionals Canada. Or check out some of our great workplace safety posts today.

Employment Professionals Canada provides detailed health, safety and wellness consulting services customized to fit your business perfectly. We can help you update existing safety plans and audit processes or create brand new ones, allowing your business to maintain compliance while keeping employees safe.