Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences has pleaded guilty and fined $37,500 under the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured cleaning and replacing ventilation hoods in the hospital’s kitchen area.
The September plea bargain by the hospital included the dropping of seven other counts under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The Ministry of Labour inspector had determined that the worker had not received any training or instruction for the work, nor did Ontario Shores have any procedures in place to safely carry out this cleaning.
Cleaning the ventilation hoods of a bake oven, the worker climbed up a ladder onto the bake oven itself to remove metal panels that required cleaning. He also had to stand on the ladder to clean the area around the outside of the hood.
After falling and striking the back of his head, the worker called for help and was found by a co-worker. The head wound took five staples to close. The worker also suffered a concussion and soreness to his neck and shoulder.
Ontario Shores argued that the fine should be only $30,000 given it was a first offense. A 25 per cent victim surcharge is added to that fine to bring the total to $37,500.
Ontario Shores is presently subject to a much larger health and safety investigation by the Ministry of Labour around violence prevention.
Glenna Raymond, CEO of Ontario Shores, may feel a little more than embarrassed by the proceedings. Raymond sits on the board of HIROC – the Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada. HIROC states its vision is to partner to create the safest health care system.
According to HIROC’s web site, the reciprocal “was established in 1987 in response to the sharp increase in premiums for liability insurance. Fifty-two healthcare organizations in Ontario came together to form an insurance reciprocal exchange, an arrangement whereby members, called subscribers, that are in the same business that agree to share in each other’s losses.”
While the Ministry of Labour normally posts fines above $50,000 on its website, it leaves interested parties to seek information on most fines below that amount. OPSEU just recently obtained a transcript of these court proceedings.