Workers Health & Safety Centre

Lack of supervisor competency leads to employer guilty plea

Lack of supervisor competency leads to employer guilty plea
A Burlington, Ontario company was fined $70,000 for a workplace incident that led to a worker suffering bone fractures, amputation of the tip of one finger and other injuries.
According to the Ministry of Labour (MOL), a worker was learning to thread multiple strands of plastic strapping material along a production line. An experienced operator was acting as the trainer and supervisor.
The worker was instructed by the trainer to shut down the machine. While reaching for a side stop control panel near exposed rollers the worker’s hand and forearm got entangled in the plastic strapping leading to the serious injuries suffered. 
After investigating the incident, the MOL found the employer had not ensured the trainer/supervisor was familiar with relevant legislation and laid charges relating to supervisory competency.
Samuel, Son & Co.  Ltd., also known as Go Packaging, pleaded guilty to failing to appoint a competent person as a supervisor as required by section 25(2)(c) of the Occupational Health & Safety Act (the Act). A competent person means a person who,

a)      is qualified because of knowledge, training and experience to organize the work and its performance,
b)      is familiar with this Act and the regulations that apply to the work, and
c)      has knowledge of any potential or actual danger to health or safety in the workplace; (s. 1(1), the Act)
Employers have extensive training obligations for all workplace parties, including supervisors. As of July 1, 2014, they must ensure supervisors complete an awareness training program within one week of beginning work as a supervisor. Additional training is also be required to help meet the more extensive supervisor “competency” obligations.
The WHSC offers the Supervisor Health & Safety Training to help employers meet these training obligations. 
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