Reports produced by professional engineers for employers must specifically state if the equipment, machinery or device is not likely to endanger a worker, according to an important decision by Ontario’s Labour Relations Board (OLRB).
Under section 54 (1)(k) of Ontario’s Occupational Health & Safety Act
) an inspector may require an employer to have equipment, machinery or a device tested, at the expense of the employer, by a professional engineer. The report must also state that the equipment is “not likely to endanger a worker.” The provision applies generally to construction, mining and industrial sectors.
In this OLRB case, four Ontario contractors filed individual appeals when the engineering reports they provided to Ministry of Labour inspectors on crane safety were deemed unacceptable. Because the reports failed to state the cranes were not likely to endanger a worker the inspectors issued employers either stop work orders or non-use restrictions on the tower cranes.
The OLRB found the inspectors’ orders were justified. Without a statement that the equipment was “not likely to endanger a worker” the Board ruled the inspectors were reasonable to assume that the cranes may still pose a hazard. Further, the Board wrote that adherence to the Act’s
specific wording “…facilitates consistency of assessment and minimizes the opportunity for confusion or debate by an Inspector as to what conclusion should be reached based on the content of a report.” The contractors’ appeals were dismissed.