Occupational Health & Safety Update: Recent Trends and Developments in the Law

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Presented at FMC's Employment and Labour Seminar: Occupational Health and Safety in Vancouver, this presentation addresses the public concern for safety in the workpalce. Also addressed is A-1 Mushroom Substratum Ltd. and H.V. Truong Ltd. case study, problems employers are facing and recent trends in this area.

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Occupational Health & Safety Update: Recent Trends and Developments in the Law

  1. 1. OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETYUPDATE: Recent Trends and Developments in the LawA Seminar for clients of Fraser Milner Casgrain LLPWednesday October 26, 2011Terminal City ClubVancouver, B.C. 1
  2. 2. Public Concern for Safety in the Workplace Jim Sinclair (BC Federation of Labour) has called for jail time for  directors of two BC companies in connection with fatalities and injuries  on a Langley mushroom farm 2
  3. 3. A‐1 Mushroom Substratum Ltd. and H.V. Truong Ltd.• In 2008, 3 workers were killed and 2 workers suffered severe  brain damage caused by poisonous gas on the mushroom farm• One worker still remains in a vegetative state• Workers were asked to fix a blocked pipe in an enclosed space• Safety training on the farm did not exist – workers who came  to the aid of their colleagues were themselves endangered 3
  4. 4. A‐1 Mushroom Substratum Ltd. and H.V. Truong Ltd. (cont’d)• Crown laid 29 charges under the Workers’ Compensation Act and Occupational Health and Safety Regulations• Companies and owners pleaded guilty to 10 charges – sentencing has not concluded• Crown is seeking “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in fines  from all accused, but have not sought jail time• A‐1 Mushroom Substratum Ltd. has since declared bankruptcy 4
  5. 5. Vancouver Sun – October 20, 2011 5
  6. 6. The Problem for Employers• an aging population requiring greater health care• World Health Organization predicts that depression will be the  second leading cause of disability in the world by 2020• the estimated cost to the Canadian economy in health care  and lost productivity due to mental illness is $51 billion• Chrysalis Performance Inc. research shows that stress in a  business may contribute up to 19% of absenteeism cost  (Burton, 2006) 6
  7. 7. The Problem for Employers (cont.)• 2010 Worksafe BC Claims ‐ $889,241,636• 2,816,989 days lost from work in 2010 due to occupational injury, illness  and disease• mental health is the number one cause of disability in Canada – it accounts  for nearly 30% of disability claims and 70% of total costs 7
  8. 8. Days lost per worker due to illness or disability, by province 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Both sexes number of daysCanada 7.6 8.1 7.9 7.8     7.4Newfoundland and Labrador 8.2 8.2 8.2 9.9 9.2Prince Edward Island 7.0 6.8 7.4 6.9 7.4Nova Scotia 9.0 9.9 9.7 9.3 8.1New Brunswick 9.7 8.8 8.9 8.6 9.1Quebec 9.3 9.8 9.3 9.7 8.9Ontario 6.6 7.2 7.4 6.9 6.3Manitoba 8.1 8.7 9.1 8.3 8.5Saskatchewan 8.7 8.3 8.1 8.2 7.6Alberta 6.6 6.9 6.1 6.0 6.2British Columbia 7.6 8.3 8.0 7.8 7.9Source:  Statistics Canada, CANSIM, table 279‐0029. 8
  9. 9. Days lost per worker by cause, by province 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 All causes number of daysCanada 9.7 9.9 9.7 9.5 9.1Newfoundland and Labrador 9.8 9.7 9.7 11.5 11.0Prince Edward Island 8.6 8.3 8.8 8.5 9.2Nova Scotia 10.8 11.8 11.3 11.2 9.8New Brunswick 11.5 10.5 10.8 10.3 10.4Quebec 11.5 11.4 10.8 11.0 10.4Ontario 8.8 9.1 9.3 8.7 8.2Manitoba 10.1 10.6 11.0 10.0 10.4Saskatchewan 11.0 10.4 10.3 10.4 9.6Alberta 9.0 8.9 8.2 7.8 8.1British Columbia 9.4 10.1 9.7 9.8 9.3Source:  Statistics Canada, CANSIM, table 279‐0029. 9
  10. 10. Occupational Health and Safety Update 10
  11. 11. The preceding presentation contains examples of the kinds of issues companies dealing with occupational health and safeyissues could face. If you are faced with one of these issues, please retain professional assistance as each situation is unique.

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