Canadian Safety Reporter

February 2018

Focuses on occupational health and safety issues at a strategic level. Designed for employers, HR managers and OHS professionals, it features news, case studies on best practices and practical tips to ensure the safest possible working environment.

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Worker wins appeal for chronic pain disability Worker had degenerative disc disease but pain started with workplace injury BY JEFFREY R. SMITH AN ONTARIO worker who was initially denied workers' compen- sation benefits for chronic pain disability because of a pre-existing back condition has won an appeal for entitlement before the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal. The 61-year-old worker was a salesman at a furniture store, where his duties included packing and unpacking furniture onto the sales floor along with selling the furniture. On Jan. 24, 1994, the worker — then 47 — injured his lower back while moving a recliner sofa up Compliance with health and safety regulations may not be good enough Ontario Court of Appeal finds employers can have a greater duty to protect workers beyond what a regulation for a specific workplace risk dictates BY LISA BOLTON THE COURT of Appeal for On- tario recently held that it is pos- sible to comply with all relevant regulations under the province's Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) but at the same time violate the general duty under the OHSA to take "every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protec- tion of a worker." In other words, despite there being a regulation that specifically addresses a particular workplace risk (such as fall protection), there may be cases in which more is re- quired from an employer than compliance with the regulation. Safety Reporter Canadian February 2018 ONTARIO COMPANY CLEARED OF CHARGES FOLLOWING FATAL ACCIDENT Process leading to accident had no accepted standard but company exercised due diligence in providing safety meetings and equipment pg. 5 REDUCING THE RISK OF IMPAIRED EMPLOYEES WITH OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH NURSES pg. 3 OHNs on staff can help employers deal effectively with legal and safety issues caused by impairment, regardless of cause WORKER WINS APPEAL FOR COMPENSATION FOR GRADUAL ONSET BACK INJURY Worker didn't initially report injury and took time to heal, but pain didn't improve and was linked to heavy lifting pg. 6 INSIDE NEWS BRIEF Regulations > pg. 4 Credit: Shutterstock/kenary820 Medical > pg. 2 PM #40065782 TEXTILE INDUSTRY'S 'DIRTY SECRET' (Thomson Reuters) — Tamil Nadu state must compensate the par- ents of a girl who was electrocuted to death in a textile mill where they worked as bonded laborers, India's human rights panel has ordered. The order highlights the plight of millions of people working as virtu- al slaves to repay debts throughout India, campaigners said. Employers often hold children to ensure parents return when they travel. Karunaiyammal and Bala- subramani Bathran said they were forced to leave their six-year-old daughter at the factory while they went home for a day trip in 2014. "We left early in the morning and by the time we came back in the evening, she had died," said Bala- subramani. "They said she had ac- cidentally touched a live wire." India banned bonded labor in 1976 but it remains widespread. The panel instructed the Tamil Nadu government to recognize that the couple were in bondage and to compensate them according to the law. Some 500,000 manual laborers in 11 industries in Tamil Nadu, including the multibillion dollar textile industry, are trapped in debt bondage, according to the International Justice Mission.

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