Category Archives: Young Workers

Roofing company fined in July for falling death of young employee

WINDSOR, Ont. – An Oct. 6 court bulletin from the Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) announced that a Windsor roofing firm had been convicted for its involvement in the falling death of a young worker in late 2015. On Dec. 11 of that year, a group of Dayus Roofing Inc. employees were replacing shingles on a local house roof, and one of the workers was tasked with dumping older shingles into a dumpster on the ground. The worker was wearing fall-protection equipment, but detached the lanyard from the safety line while crossing the roof to dispose of shingles; the worker then lost footing and fell to the ground, sustaining serious injuries. After six months in the hospital in a coma, the worker died, the MOL stated. Dayus Roofing later pleaded guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice in Windsor to failing to use a guardrail system, or a more effective fall-arrest system like a travel-restraint system, to protect its employees. Justice of the Peace Susan E. Whelan convicted the firm on July 17 of this year and sentenced it to pay a fine of $90,000, plus the standard 25 per cent victim fine surcharge. “New and young workers in Ontario are more likely to be injured during the first few months on the job than other workers,” the MOL stated in the bulletin, “and are three times more likely to be injured during their first month on the job than at any other time.”

McDonald’s location issues apology for English-requirement notice to workers

YELLOWKNIFE, N.W.T. – After a McDonald’s restaurant posted a notice requiring its employees to speak only English, the owner and operator of the business has issued an apology letter to workers. The letter, which was posted online in a CBC News story on Sept. 6, was Al Nielsen’s response to the Yellowknife restaurant’s crew and managers regarding the “Language in Workplace” notice posted on Aug. 25. “While the intent of the notice was to address customer feedback, it’s clear the notice was inappropriate,” wrote Nielsen in the letter, which he reportedly issued over Labour Day weekend. “McDonald’s is a place that welcomes and respects EVERYONE… my organization values diversity in all its forms – including language.” He also called the notice “insensitive” and apologized to employees whom it had offended. The original notice had reportedly ordered staff to speak English on the job “99 per cent of the time,” with exceptions in “a few cercumstances [sic].”

Campaign urges open safety discussion with young workers

SAINT JOHN, N.B. – A new campaign by WorkSafeNB, New Brunswick’s workers’ compensation board, is encouraging the province’s employers and workers to discuss safety issues openly with young workers. The campaign, Let’s Talk Safety, aims to make occupational safety a normal part of everyday conversation so that young workers do not feel shy or uncomfortable about raising issues and concerns, according to an Aug. 10 press release from the organization. The release noted that around 1,000 workers between the ages of 15 and 24 are either injured or killed on the job in New Brunswick each year. “By encouraging this daily discussion, we build a culture where young workers feel comfortable asking questions and sharing safety concerns,” Tim Petersen, WorkSafeNB’s acting president and CEO, said in a press statement. “These young workers may need that extra question or instruction to fully understand how to perform job tasks safely.” WorkSafeNB offers resources on its website to help, such as a toolkit for employers with young workers and a script for a safety talk with employees before the summer season.

Broken ankle leads to conviction, fine for meat-packing company

BRAMPTON, Ont. – Four years after a young employee broke an ankle in a workplace accident while driving a forklift, a Concord, Ont.-based meat-packing company has been fined $55,000, plus a victim fine surcharge, for its role in the incident. According to a court bulletin from the Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL), the worker was moving meat with a device called a “walkie forklift” on May 22, 2013 at the Brampton facility of Concord Premium Meats Ltd. The employee collided with material that a co-worker was moving that day, resulting in the injury. The employer was later tried on four charges under the province’s Occupational Health and Safety Act: failure to keep the floor clear of obstructions and hazards, to protect workers from traffic with barriers or warning signs, to ensure that employees were moving or lifting material in a way that did not endanger others and to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect workers’ safety. Concord was found guilty on all four charges at the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton on June 13 of this year, and Justice of the Peace Stephen Budaci passed sentence on Aug. 2. “New and young workers… are more likely to be injured during the first few months on the job than other workers,” the MOL stated in the bulletin, “and are three times more likely to be injured during their first month on the job than at any other time.”

Employee injury at golf course leads to $50,000 fine for ClubLink

MILTON, Ont. – A company that runs golf courses has been fined $50,000, plus a victim fine surcharge, for an incident in which a young worker suffered a hand injury in a wood chipper at Milton’s RattleSnake Point Golf Club on May 27, 2015. According to a court bulletin from the Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL), two employees of ClubLink Corporation ULC were using the chipper that day when one of them placed a coffee cup near the machine’s back vent. The worker felt the air around the vent to check if it could knock over the cup, but the chipper pulled the worker’s hand into the vent and injured it. The MOL investigated the incident and found that the vent did not have a guard to protect workers from such an accident. ClubLink later pleaded guilty to contravening section 25(1)(b) of the province’s Occupational Health and Safety Act in the Ontario Court of Justice in Milton, according to the MOL. Justice of the Peace Margot McLeod sentenced the employer to pay the fine on July 20 of this year.

Student wins annual award for enforcing safety in workplace

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – This year’s Safety Matters Award, which the Workers Compensation Board of P.E.I. (WCB) gives to a graduating student in the province who applies occupational health and safety principles every year, recently went to Madelaine MacDonald, a student at Bluefield High School in North Wiltshire. MacDonald received the award at the WCB’s Annual Public Meeting on June 26, according to a July 20 announcement on the Board’s website. The WCB stated that MacDonald had been reinforcing safety culture in her job at a local bakery over the previous two years. She had made use of her safety training and acted as a role model for new employees, and her welding and carpentry instructor praised her for putting safety first. “This generation represents our future workers and employers of Prince Edward Island,” WCB chair Stuart Affleck said in a press statement. “That’s why it is important to foster an interest in safety from an early age, which can lead to safer workplaces in the future.” MacDonald is hoping to work in physiotherapy in the future, the announcement added.

New safety campaign targets young workers in British Columbia

RICHMOND, B.C. – British Columbia’s occupational health and safety authority has launched an awareness campaign aimed at young workers, to encourage them to raise safety concerns with employers. The WorkSafeBC campaign, called Listen to Your Gut, is also targeting the province’s employers with a video series titled What I Know Now, which features employers remembering their first jobs in their youth and the safety lessons they learned, according to a news release that WorkSafeBC sent out on July 19. The goal is to get more young workers to feel comfortable speaking out about workplace situations they deem unsafe. “All young-worker injuries and deaths are unacceptable,” Trudi Rondou, WorkSafeBC’s senior manager of industry and labour services, said in a media statement. “We want to address reservations young workers may have about raising safety concerns with their bosses, encourage them to trust their instincts and help them understand their rights and responsibilities on the job.” British Columbia saw 18 fatalities among young workers from 2012 to 2016, according to WorkSafeBC.

Farm worker, 25, dead in Quebec tractor accident

Quebec’s provincial police force and occupational health and safety authority are investigating a workplace fatality that occurred on a farm in Inverness, a small municipality south of the St. Lawrence River, on the afternoon of May 30.

The incident happened at about 6:30 p.m. that day, according to Aurélie Guindon, a spokesperson for the Sûreté du Québec. A 25-year-old employee of the farm was removing rocks from the farm grounds when he had a fatal accident with a tractor.

“The police officers received a call about someone who was found in a field,” said Guindon. “We think that maybe the man could have fallen off the tractor or maybe was hit by the tractor while he was picking up the rocks.”

The Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST), the province’s oh&s department, sent inspectors to the farm to investigate. A stop-work order has been issued on the tractor.

CNESST communications rep Nicole Roy said that the tractor had been moving in reverse at the time of the accident, but could not confirm any further details, “because we actually are in an investigation right now,” she said.

The victim hailed from Sainte-Agathe-de-Lotbinière, a town near Quebec City, Guindon said.

According to statistics from CNESST, Quebec saw 18 agricultural fatalities from 2012 to 2016, five of which occurred last year. In addition, the number of occupational injuries in the province’s farming sector rose from 873 in 2012 to 1,054 last year.

Inverness is located in the region of Centre-du-Québec. In the Centre-du-Québec and Mauricie regions alone, there were 161 agricultural injuries in 2016, and 27 of the injured workers were less than 25 years old, according to CNESST. This was a decrease from 164 in the previous year, but an increase from 124 in 2012.

Inverness had a population of fewer than 825 as of 2011, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada.

While the causes of this fatality are still yet to be determined, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety offers many tips on safe tractor operation on its website, including the following:

  • Make sure nobody is near the tractor when starting the engine;
  • Never start the engine when standing beside the vehicle;
  • Never get on or off a tractor when it is moving;
  • Drive the tractor only from the driving seat;
  • Always wear a seatbelt if the tractor has a roll-over protection structure;
  • Never drive the tractor towards someone standing in front of a fixed object; and
  • If the wheels are bouncing, the tractor is moving too quickly.

Freight company, supervisor charged for fatality last June

INUVIK, N.W.T. – Allen Services & Contracting Limited, a company that provides freight, vacuum and water services in Inuvik and Edmonton, is facing multiple charges for the death of an employee on June 28 of last year. A May 23 media release from the Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) stated that the worker had been fatally injured at an access road to the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility that day. Charges against both the company and supervisor Brian McCarthy, Sr. include failing to provide sufficient information, training and supervision to protect workers, to supervise workers competently and to ensure that supervisors complete an approved regulatory familiarization program. Local media reports have identified the victim as 19-year-old David Vinnicombe, who was from Australia. “The WSCC reminds all employers that their workplace responsibilities include taking all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of all persons on their worksite,” the release stated. “Workers are also reminded… to ensure their own safety and the safety of other persons.” The first court date for the case has been set for June 13.

MySafeWork hosts live-streaming event for Day of Mourning

NATIONAL – National Day of Mourning, an annual event devoted to those who have lost their lives on the job, returns on April 28, and nonprofit organization MySafeWork is live-streaming Courageous, a one-hour presentation that encourages students to speak out about unsafe work practices. The presentation will include a personal message from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on workplace safety, according to a press release from the Toronto-based organization. Courageous will also include a roundtable discussion with inspirational stories and practical advice, as well as an interactive Q&A session; MySafeWork encourages oh&s professionals to offer tips on Twitter via the hashtag #IAmCourageous2017. “Workplace safety… [is] an issue that can change your life in an instant,” MySafeWork founder and president Rob Ellis said in a media statement. “We want a new generation of workers to stand up and say: ‘Enough is enough – even one workplace injury is too many.’” Bryan Baeumler, star of HGTV’s Leave It to Bryan, will host the presentation in front of a live studio audience in Toronto. Viewers can catch Courageous live at starting at 9 a.m. EST on April 28, and a recording of the show will be available on MySafeWork’s YouTube channel afterwards.