Accused not required to provide information about safe operation of vehicles as worker not allowed to drive

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Accused not required to provide information about safe operation of vehicles as worker not allowed to drive

Appeal by accused of two convictions under Occupational Health and Safety Act (Ont.). Accused was alleged to have failed to ensure that worker received information about safe operation and parking of vehicles in workplace and it was also alleged that accused failed to ensure that worker who drove car at workplace had valid driver’s licence and was sufficiently trained in safe operation of motor vehicle. Accused cleaned automobiles. Worker was employed as cleaner and as such he was not allowed to drive. Worker drove vehicle into wash bay area of accused’s cleaning facility and he set off chain of collisions between two other cars which injured another worker. Co-worker, who was one of co-owners of accused, told worker twice that he was not allowed to drive. First time he so informed worker was day he was hired and second time was on day of incident. Worker was aware of accused’s safety policy. Worker never received training in safe operation of vehicles. Co-worker testified that there was no reason for worker to leave his work area or to drive any cars. Appeal allowed and convictions were set aside. Convictions under appeal were strict liability offences. Trial judge failed to fundamentally understand or address accused’s position and this was serious error of law. Worker was hired simply to clean cars, he was instructed about his job, he understood what it entailed and he further understood that his job did not involve driving any cars. There was no reason for accused to ensure that he was supervised for every minute that he worked. Since worker was not to drive accused did not have to provide with him information about safe operation of vehicles and it did not have to verify that he had valid driver’s licence.
Ontario (Ministry of Labour) v. 679052 Ontario Ltd. (Nov. 30, 2012, Ont. C.J., Zisman J., File No. 1211-999-07-7113-04) 104 W.C.B. (2d) 406.

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