Ministry of Labour managers have discretion as to whether to send out an inspector when an employer calls after-hours about a workplace accident, a recent decision suggests.
An MOL inspector filed a grievance under his collective agreement claiming that when a call regarding a workplace injury came in at 5:15 pm, the call should have been referred to him and not the on-call MOL manager. The manager had determined that there was no need to send an inspector to the workplace that night. The accident involved a broken bone which was a “critical injury” (a worker lost her footing and jumped down the last 3 stairs) under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The inspector claimed that he would have gone to the workplace, at least to “secure the site”, and would have earned “premium pay” for his time spent on the visit.
A vice-chair of the Grievance Settlement Board noted that the “Ministry Operations Division Policy and Procedures Reference Manual” contemplated that only after-hours calls falling within certain categories including “critical injuries” are forwarded to the inspector on-call, and that the hotline operator could contact an MOL manager if he or she required clarification or direction on any issue. The manager had the authority to conduct “triage” and not to send an inspector to the workplace that evening.
There was no violation of the collective agreement or of the Reference Manual, so the inspector’s grievance was dismissed.
Ontario Public Service Employees Union (Beaulieu) v Ontario (Labour), 2014 CanLII 40173 (ON GSB)