Even “inspecting” equipment is “working on it”: employer guilty of OHSA charge where employees had not even started maintenance work
A maintenance electrician had “worked on” a stuck shipping door when he simply “inspected” it, even though he had not actually performed maintenance on it, a court has ruled. He was injured when the door fell on him. The employer was found guilty of failing to ensure that the door was “blocked” before employees worked on it.
The maintenance employee testified that he “took a look at the controller [for the door] just to make sure, looked in to make sure that the P-L-C was powered up”. He agreed that he was “merely inspecting, trying to determine what the problem was.”
The trial justice found that “some level of work” took place, and therefore that the employer was guilty of the offence of failing to ensure that the shipping door was blocked before it was “adjusted, repaired, or [had] work performed on it”, contrary to the Industrial Establishments regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The appeal judge agreed and upheld the conviction. He stated that the OHSA did not require that a “minimum or threshold amount of work be performed” before the requirements of the OHSA are triggered. The maintenance employee’s checks of the electrical system for the door amounted to “some work” and therefore the obligation to “block” the door had been triggered.
Ontario (Ministry of Labour) v. Maple Lodge Farms, 2015 ONCJ 172 (CanLII)