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‘Everyone just knew’ was not a defence to OHSA charges: court

By Adrian Miedema

An employer’s assertion that ‘everyone just knew’ the safety rules was not a defence to charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), an Ontario court has held. The employer’s ‘casual, oral practice’ — without a written policy — was not enough.

Anray Ltd, an excavating contractor, engaged one Marr to transport an excavator. Marr stopped an employee, Kaczynski, who was in the middle of loading the excavator onto Marr’s truck so Marr could clean the excavator’s treads. The employee left Marr to do the cleaning, after which Marr hopped in the excavator and tried to load it onto the trailer. The excavator slid off the side of the trailer. Marr was injured.

The Ministry of Labour charged Anray under the OHSA with failing to ensure that the excavator was moved in a safe manner…

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