Occupational Health & Safety - local70 - Ontario Nurses' Association

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Occupational Health & Safety - local70 - Ontario Nurses' Association

Occupational Health

and

Safety/Workplace Safety

and Insurance

A Guide for ONA Members

85 Grenville Street, Suite 400

Toronto, ON M5S 3A2

Tel: (416) 964-8833

Toll-Free: 1-800-387-5580

Fax: (416) 964-8864

Web site: www.ona.org

The Ontario Nurses’ Association represents more than

46,000 front-line registered nurses and allied health

professionals throughout the province.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

ONA VISION STATEMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

ONA STATEMENT OF BELIEFS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

OBJECTIVES OF THIS GUIDE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

SECTION I:

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY

THE OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

REGULATIONS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

WORKERS’ RIGHTS UNDER THE ACT

Right to Know. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

WMIS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Right to Participate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Right to Refuse or Stop Unsafe Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

CNO “Decision Tree”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

INTERNAL RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM

Duties of the Employer Under the Act . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Employer Reprisals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Duties of the Supervisor Under the Act . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Duties of the Worker Under the Act. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

STRUCTURE AND FUNCTIONS OF THE JHSC AND ROLE

OF THE WORKER MEMBER

Structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

Functions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

Worker Member . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Worker Inspections of the Workplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

Confidentiality of Information. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

Role of ONA Health and Safety Representatives on the JHSC. . . . . . . 23

Administrative Process of the JHSC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Copyright ©2003

Ontario Nurses’ Association

HOW TO USE YOUR IRS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

Procedure for Resolving Health and Safety Problems (chart). . . . . . . . . 27

Examples of the IRS in Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

Sample Scenario 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

Sample Scenario 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

Sample Scenario 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

Monitoring the Workplace. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33

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ROLE OF THE MINISTRY OF LABOUR IN OCCUPATIONAL

HEALTH AND SAFETY AT THE WORKPLACE

Inspector’s Powers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

Inspector’s Orders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

Regulation for Health Care and Residential Facilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS AND SUBSTANCES

Safety Hazards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

Health Hazards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

Routes of Entry of Physical, Chemical and Biological Hazards . . . . . . 40

Principles of Controlling Health Hazards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY EDUCATION

AND TRAINING

Certification Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

Other Training. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

SECTION II:

WORKPLACE SAFETY AND INSURANCE (WSIB)

WORKPLACE SAFETY AND INSURANCE

What is Workplace Safety and Insurance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

Who is Eligible for Workplace Safety Insurance Benefits. . . . . . . . . . . 45

What is “A Personal Injury by Accident…”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

What Should a Member Do if She/He Has Sustained

a Work-Related Injury or Illness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

TIME LIMITS TO CLAIM WSIB

Does WSIB Impose Time Limits to Make a Claim for Benefits

for an Injury . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

If a Member Misses the Time Limit, Will the WSIB Grant

an Extension to Claim for Benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

EMPLOYER’S WSIB OBLIGATIONS

What Must the Employer Do Once a Member Reports

a Possible Work-Related Injury of Illness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

Who Decides if an Injury or Illness is Work-Related . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

How Does the WSIB Handle a Member’s Claim . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48

What Are Some Common Reasons for a Delay in

Payment of Benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

WSIB BENEFITS

What Benefits are Available to a Member Who Sustains

a Work-Related Injury or Illness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

LOSS OF EARNINGS (LOE) BENEFITS

How is a Member’s Pre-Injury Take-Home Pay Calculated . . . . . . . . 51

Determining What a Worker is Likely Able to Earn. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

When Do LOE Benefits Stop. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

How Often Will the Member be Paid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

How Often Can the LOE be Re-Calculated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

Can the LOE be Re-Calculated After the 72-Month Point . . . . . . . . . 52

What if the Member has a Recurrence After the 72-Month Point . . . . 53

Is the LOE Benefit Adjusted for Inflation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

What if the Short-term LOE Calculation Does Not Reflect

the Member’s True Loss of Earnings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

FUTURE ECONOMIC LOSS BENEFITS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

TEMPORARY WAGE LOSS BENEFITS

Benefits for Permanent Injuries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

Benefits for Permanent Impairment for Accidents

after January 2, 1990 (Non-Economic Loss) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

Permanent Partial Disability (Pension) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

WSIB RETIREMENT BENEFIT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

HEALTH CARE BENEFITS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

EARLY AND SAFE RETURN TO WORK

At What Point Will the WSIB Expect Me to Return

to Some Form of Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

Goal of ESRTW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57

A Member’s Employer Wants Her/His Doctor to Provide

Her/His Functional Abilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57

The Worker’s Role in the ESRTW Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58

The Employer’s Role in the ESRTW Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58

The WSIB’S Role in ESRTW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

How Does ESRTW Affect a Member’s Benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

What if the Employer Offers Inappropriate or Unsafe Work. . . . . . . . 59

What if the Member is Ready to Return to Work and the

Employer Will Not Let Him/Her . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60

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LABOUR MARKET RE-ENTRY

The Goal of LMR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60

What is a Suitable Employment Business . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60

When is a Member Entitled to an LMR Assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

What is an LMR Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

How Does LMR Affect Benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

What is a Material Change in Circumstances. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

THE RE-EMPLOYMENT OBLIGATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

APPEALING A WSIB DECISION

What Does a Member Do if She/He is Not Satisfied

with a Decision of the WSIB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63

Does the WSIA Impose Time Limits to Appeal

an Adverse WSIB Decision. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64

How Will a Member Know What the Time Limit is to Appeal

the WSIB Adverse Decision. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64

ONA REPRESENTATION FOR WSIB APPEALS

Will ONA Appeal a Member’s WSIB Decision. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

ONA’s Notification Time Limits for Representation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

When a Member Misses Time Limits to Appeal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

Flow Chart of Appeal System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66

SECTION III: RESOURCES

THE ONTARIO NURSES’ ASSOCIATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67

WORKERS HEALTH AND SAFETY CENTRE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69

HEALTH CARE HEALTH AND SAFETY ASSOCIATION . . . . . . . . . 70

ONTARIO FEDERATION OF LABOUR. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH CLINIC FOR ONTARIO WORKERS . . 71

CRIMINAL INJURIES COMPENSATION BOARD. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72

CANADIAN CENTRE FOR OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY . . 72

ONTARIO MINISTRY OF LABOUR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73

OFFICE OF THE WORKER ADVISOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76

WORKPLACE SAFETY AND INSURANCE BOARD (WSIB). . . . . . . 78

ONA VISION STATEMENT

The Ontario Nurses’Association is a membership driven, proactive union sensitive

and responsive to the ever changing needs in an evolving health care system.

Dedicated to providing an environment conducive to learning and personal

growth with the acknowledgment of diversity and creativity.

Maintains mutual trust, respect, support and understanding throughout the

organization.

Advocates a high quality, efficient health care system, sharing in partnership with

communities, consumers and health care professionals.

ONA STATEMENT OF BELIEFS

The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) believes that it is the right of all its

members to work in a healthy and safe work environment. It further believes in

the pursuit of the highest degree of physical, mental and social well-being of

workers in all occupations.

As one of the largest health care unions in the province and the country, ONA is

particularly concerned about the high rate of illness and injury in the health care

sector. Not only are our members under extreme stress from the current unrelenting

pressures on the health care system, health care workers have the highest

injury and illness rate in the work force. This is completely unacceptable. It is time

for ONA members to exercise a stronger leadership role in achieving safe and

healthy workplaces, and a better quality of life for ourselves and our families.

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OBJECTIVES OF THIS GUIDE

The objectives of Occupational Health and Safety/Workplace Safety and

Insurance: A Guide for ONA Members are to:

• Provide ONA members with a basic understanding of their rights regarding

occupational health and safety in the workplace and an understanding

of the Workplace Safety and Insurance system.

• Empower members with measures they can take, through the rights given to

them under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, for the prevention of

injuries and the elimination of the hazards in our workplaces.

• Encourage ONA occupational health and safety representatives to take

more active roles in promoting health and safety initiatives in their

Bargaining Units.

• Educate our members about the changes and expectations the Workplace

Safety and Insurance Board now places on all workplace parties under the

new Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.

• Empower our members with the knowledge of what is a workplace accident

and how they should report properly to avoid problems in the future.

• Provide ONA members with a valuable list of resources.

When We Can’t Care, Everyone Hurts. Let’s stop the hurting!

SECTION I:

THE OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH

AND SAFETY ACT

The Occupational Health and Safety Act

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (the Act) was first passed in 1979 and

applies to most workers and workplaces in Ontario. It is designed to protect

workers against health and safety hazards in the workplace.

The Act has undergone many amendments since its enactment, but the basic

structure and purpose remain unchanged. It sets out general principles and duties

for employers, employees and other parties to promote healthy and safe workplaces

in Ontario. Directors and officers of corporations face maximum fines of

up to $25,000, and corporations can be fined up to a maximum of $500,000, if

found in violation of the Act or its regulations (Section 66).

Regulations

The Occupational Health and Safety Act also gives the Ontario government the

power to make regulations, which are more detailed instructions on how the

duties of workplace parties are to be carried out. When the first Act was passed

in 1979, regulations for industrial establishments, construction projects and

mines also came into effect. Since that time, several changes have been made to

existing regulations, and additional regulations have been put in force.

In 1993, a regulation for the health care sector, called the Regulation for Health

Care and Residential Facilities, came into effect. (See Regulation for Health

Care and Residential Facilities on page 37.) Although a draft regulation for the

health care sector was initially completed in 1987 through the efforts of a bipartite

committee of labour and management, passage of the regulation had been

stalled over government concerns about costs, and opposition from the Ontario

Hospital Association (OHA). When the provincial government reopened discussions

on the draft regulation in 1991, labour representatives at the table were dismayed

to find that many of the provisions of the 1987 draft, which had been

determined through a consensus process, were up for discussion again.

Despite the provincial government’s claim of a commitment to occupational

health and safety, the end result of this next round of discussions was disappointing.

When the new regulation was finally proclaimed early in 1993, important

sections were completely left out and other sections were weakened and,

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therefore, offered less protection. Most importantly for ONA members, the sections

dealing with violent and aggressive patients and patient lifting and handling

were dropped altogether. This setback, however, does not prevent our members

from pursuing these issues as safety concerns, nor from addressing related violations

under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

There are also regulations in place to control toxic substances in the workplace,

the presence or use of which may endanger the health or safety of a worker.

Regulation 833 controls exposure and sets limits in workplace air for approximately

600 specific biological and chemical agents.

The other approach used by the Ministry of Labour has been to develop regulations

specific to particular toxic substances. These substances are known as designated

substances. Each designated substance regulation applies to a single

agent or class of agents. The regulation contains provisions for an assessment of

the likelihood of worker exposure in the workplace and a control program, which

includes provisions for engineering controls, work practice, hygiene practices,

air monitoring, record keeping and medical surveillance.

Other pertinent legislative documents members may need to use occasionally are:

• Ambulance Act.

• Atomic Energy Control Act.

• Building Code Act.

• Environmental Protection Act.

• Fire Marshals Act.

• Fire Code – Hazardous Products Act.

• Healing Arts Radiation Protection Act.

Health Protection and Promotion Act.

• Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act.

• Nursing Homes Act.

• Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.

Ontario Human Rights Code.

• Public Hospitals Act.

• Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

• Criminal Code of Canada.

Workers’ Rights Under the Act

Right to Know

Workers have a basic right under Section 25 of the Act to know exactly what hazards

they are being exposed to at work. Generally, the employer and the Ministry of

Labour must provide workers and their workplace representatives with information

and instructions in addressing and improving workplace health and safety.

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Specifically, all hazardous articles, devices, equipment and biological chemical

and physical agents must be identified (Section 37 (1)) and workers must be

instructed on how to use and handle them safely (Section 37 (3)). Regulations,

such as the Health Care Regulation, Section 97, Anti-neoplastic Drugs, oblige

supervisors to provide written instructions to workers in some cases. The

Occupational Health and Safety Act and any explanatory material must be posted

in the workplace, both in English and the majority language of the workplace

(Section 25 (2) (i).) Workers are also entitled to copies of inspectors’ reports and

orders (Section 57 (10)), air sampling results, an annual Workplace Safety and

Insurance Board summary of deaths, injury and occupational illness in the workplace

(Section 12), and any other reports concerning health and safety in that

workplace (Section 9, 52, 59).

Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System

The “Right to Know” provisions of the Act include language under “Part IV –

Toxic Substances,” which establishes the Workplace Hazardous Materials

Information System (WHMIS). A WHMIS regulation clarifies in detail the provisions

in the Act.

The WHMIS legislation has three major components:

• Comprehensive labelling of all hazardous materials: The employer

must ensure that all hazardous materials in the workplace are identified in

a prescribed way as set out in Section 37 of the Act. In most cases, a

detailed label is required on a container of a hazardous material. In some

other cases, a less formal means of identification is permitted. No one in the

workplace can remove or deface the identification of a hazardous material.

• Provision of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), containing

detailed information about the properties of substances, their potential

hazards and safe ways of handling such materials: In accordance

with the legislation, an employer has a general duty to either obtain or

prepare unexpired (dated within the past three years) MSDS for hazardous

materials in the workplace (Sections 37 and 38). The employer is

also required to make copies of MSDS readily available to workers, the

Joint Health and Safety Committee or the health and safety representative.

In addition, the employer must provide workers with paper copies of

MSDS, on request.

• The training of workers and supervisors who are exposed or likely to

be exposed to hazardous materials or who use these materials in their

work: The employer has a general duty to train workers who are exposed

or likely to be exposed to a hazardous material on the job (Section 42).

The employer must also consult either the Joint Health and Safety

Committee (JHSC) or a worker health and safety representative, if one

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exists, about the content and delivery of training programs. At least once

a year, the employer, in consultation with the Joint Health and Safety

Committee or health and safety representative, must review the worker training

program and determine the workers’ familiarity with the information.

This review should take place more often than once a year if the employer,

on the advice of the committee or representative, finds it necessary. A more

frequent review is also required if there is a change at the workplace, which

may affect the health or safety of a worker. This review is meant to identify

whether updating the training program and retraining workers are necessary.

Several valuable programs are available, which can be included in a committee’s

recommendations to the employer as an initiative to address hazards

and resolve health and safety concerns in the workplace.

Right to Participate

The philosophy underpinning the Occupational Health and Safety Act is known

as the “Internal Responsibility System” (IRS). This system delegates authority

over occupational health and safety in the workplace to the management, but all

workplace parties should be involved in the protection of their health and safety.

Workers also have responsibilities to work safely. In addition, workers, particularly

those selected by the union(s) in the workplace to sit on the JHSC, have an

opportunity to shape the health and safety environment in their workplace. The

JHSC is the driving force of the IRS in the workplace. Without a competent,

effective JHSC, the occupational health and safety of the workers in the workplace

may be severely compromised. (See more on IRS on page 14.)

Right to Refuse or Stop Unsafe Work

The Occupational Health and Safety Act provides a conditional “Right to

Refuse” unsafe work for health care workers (Section 43). Health care workers

who work in institutions can refuse unsafe work only when the life, health or

safety of another person or the public is not directly in danger.

This conditional Right to Refuse applies to police officers, firefighters, ambulance

workers and some other groups of workers who care for the public. The

majority of Ontario workers do not have this condition put on their right to protect

their own safety in the workplace. Even some health care workers, such as

community health nurses, who work outside institutions have no limitation put

on their right to refuse unsafe work.

Certainly no health care worker wants to jeopardize the life, health or safety of

another person, but neither should she/he be expected by the employer to needlessly

jeopardize her/his own safety.

The right to refuse unsafe work is an individual right. The decision to refuse must

arise from the individual’s own concern that something in the work or working

environment is likely to endanger her/himself or another worker. Section 43 of

the Act clearly sets out the procedure for exercising this right.

Health care workers in general do not readily exercise their right to refuse. They

fear reprisal from the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) and put their own

health and safety in jeopardy rather than take the chance of being disciplined at

the College. The fact is the CNO does not expect nurses to jeopardize their health

and safety.

In a Workers’ Health and Safety Centre article on “Alternative Remedies” (At the

Source, fall 2002), Sylvia Rodgers, Manager of Standards and Education for the

CNO, said, “While the right to refuse isn’t the first line of defence…we don’t expect

nurses to jeopardize their health and safety on the job. Nurses have rights too.”

The CNO produced a guide entitled Abuse of Nurses. A “Decision Tree,” which

outlines instances when a nurse may have to withdraw care, is contained within

that guide. (See “CNO Decision Tree” on page 13.)

Remember, for members the right to refuse is likely a conditional one dependent

on their specific situation. There is not a great deal of case law to guide our members

in making this decision, however, one useful case involves a work refusal by

St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital nurses. That resulted in the issuance of an order

for increased staffing. (Decision no. 01/93-A.)

As well, the Ministry of Labour cites an example on its Web page, which may

assist ONA members in determining the limits of their right to refuse: “An experienced

medical lab technologist could not, in the course of his or her regular

work, refuse to handle a blood sample from a patient with an infectious disease.

But the technologist could refuse to test for a highly infectious virus where proper

protective clothing and safety equipment are not available.”

If in doubt, members should consult their Bargaining Unit/Local/Labour Relations

Officer or call the Ministry of Labour. At least one case suggests that workers who

do not have the right to refuse under Section 43 are entitled to have their health and

safety concerns dealt with promptly by a Ministry of Labour inspector because of

the limitations on the right to refuse. (Decision no. OHS 94-21.)

The Occupational Health and Safety Act also provides a conditional “Right to

Stop Dangerous Work” to health care workers (Section 44-47). Work can be

stopped only in “dangerous circumstances” (Section 44(1)), which means a situation

where all of the following are true:

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• The Act or the regulations are being violated.

• The violation poses a danger or a hazard to a worker.

• There is a delay in controlling the danger or hazard, which may seriously

endanger a worker.

CNO Decision Tree

The same conditions apply to this right as to the “Right to Refuse.” That is, health

care workers and others who work in a variety of health care facilities cannot initiate

a work stoppage if doing so will endanger the life, health or safety of another

person (Section 44(2)). This legal condition severely restricts the rights of

health care workers to stop dangerous work, so if in doubt, members should consult

their Bargaining Unit/Local/Labour Relations Officer or call the Ministry of

Labour.

In most cases, it takes two certified members to direct an employer to stop dangerous

work. One must be a certified member representing workers, the other a

certified member representing the employer. In some special cases, a single certified

member may have this right. Sections 45, 46 and 47 set out the procedure

for exercising this right. Because this right is a conditional one, nurses are

advised, where possible, to seek advice prior to exercising it.

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Internal Responsibility System

The Occupational Health and Safety Act is built around an “Internal

Responsibility System” (IRS) framework. The Act gives everyone responsibility

for health and safety by assigning specific duties to employers, supervisors,

workers and other workplace parties.

In a nutshell:

• Employers are legally required to establish a health and safety program

and a safe working environment, ensure every reasonable safety and

health precaution is taken to protect workers and ensure supervisors are

familiar with health and safety legislation and hazards in the workplace.

• Supervisors must ensure the workplace is safe, workers are working

safely, every precaution reasonable to protect workers is taken, and any

concerns that come to their attention are addressed.

• Workers must work safely and report hazards.

• Unresolved health and safety concerns must be brought to the Joint

Health and Safety Committee, which makes recommendations to the

employer regarding health and safety in the workplace.

If a concern cannot be resolved through the IRS, the Ministry of Labour should

be called. Orders may be issued if there is a violation of the Act or the regulations.

The following sections provide more information about the responsibilities and

functions of the various participants in the IRS and how the system can be used.

Duties of the Employer Under the Act

(Reference: Section 25 of the Occupational Health And Safety Act)

• Provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect

the health or safety of that worker.

• Provide, upon request, information, including confidential business information,

to a legally qualified medical practitioner in a medical emergency

for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment.

• Appoint a competent person to serve as supervisor. “Competent person”

has a specific meaning under the Act. A supervisor must:

• Be qualified through knowledge, training and experience to organize

the work and its performance.

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• Be familiar with the Act and the regulations that apply to the work

being performed in the workplace.

• Know about any actual or potential danger to health and safety in the

workplace.

• Acquaint a worker or a person in authority over a worker with any hazard

in the work and in the handling, storage, use, disposal and transportation of

any article, device, equipment or a biological, chemical or physical agent.

• Offer assistance and cooperation to a committee or a health and safety

representative in carrying out their functions.

• Employ in or about a workplace only a person over such an age, as may

be prescribed.

• Take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection

of a worker.

• Post in the workplace a copy of the Act and any explanatory material prepared

by the Ministry of Labour, both in English and the majority language

of the workplace, outlining the rights, responsibilities and duties of

workers.

• Establish and (at least) annually review a written Occupational Health

and Safety Policy and develop/maintain a program to implement that policy,

in consultation with the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC).

Employers are also required to post the policy and provide copies to the

JHSC or health and safety representative (Sections 25 (2)(j)(k) of the Act

and Sections 8 and 9 of the Health Care Regulation).

• Provide the JHSC or the health and safety representative with the results

of any occupational health and safety report the employer has. If the

report is in writing, the employer must also provide a copy of the relevant

parts of the report.

• Advise workers of the results of such a report. If the report is in writing,

the employer must, on request, make available to workers copies of the

portions that concern occupational health and safety.

• Ensure all equipment required by the Act or regulations is provided,

maintained in good condition and used properly by workers.

• Ensure that measures and procedures required by the Act and regulations

and employer policy are carried out.

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Additional responsibilities of the employer may be found in other sections of the Act:

• Provide a written response to the JHSC’s written recommendations within

21 days. The written response must contain a timetable for implementation

and provide reasons for disagreeing with any recommendations the

employer does not accept (Section 9 (20) (21)).

• Establish a medical surveillance program for workers as prescribed and

provide for safety-related medical exams and tests and related expenses

and wages (Section 26 (1) (h) (i) (3)).

• Notify the Ministry of Labour, the JHSC, health and safety representative

and trade unions within 48 hours when a worker is critically injured or

killed (Section 51 (1)).

• Notify the Ministry of Labour, JHSC, health and safety representative and

trade union, upon request, when a worker is disabled or requires medical

attention resulting from an accident, fire or explosion (Section 52 (1)).

• Notify the Ministry of Labour, the JHSC, health and safety representative and

trade unions within four days of being advised of an occupational illness

(Section 52 (2) (3)).

• Provide the JHSC and health and safety representative with copies when

the ministry inspector finds violations of legislation and issues order(s)

(Section 57 (10)).

Employer Reprisals

Employers are prohibited by Section 50 of the Act from taking any disciplinary

action against an employee because she/he worked in compliance with the Act,

the regulations or an order made under the Act. Employees are also protected by

the Act if they are seeking enforcement of the Act or its regulations. If an

employer does violate the Act and takes prohibited action against a worker, the

worker has the option of filing a grievance under the collective agreement and

having the matter dealt with by final and binding arbitration, or by filing a complaint

with the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

Duties of the Supervisor Under the Act

(Reference: Section 27 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act)

• Advise a worker of the existence of any potential or actual danger to the

health or safety of the worker of which the supervisor is aware.

• Take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection

of the worker.

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• Ensure that a worker works in the manner, and with the protective

devices, measures and procedures required by the Act and the regulations.

• Ensure that a worker uses or wears the equipment, protective devices or

clothing the employer requires.

• Provide a worker with written instructions regarding measures or procedures

to be taken for the protection of the worker, where prescribed.

Duties of the Worker Under the Act

(Reference: Section 28 of the Occupational Health And Safety Act)

• Work in compliance with the provisions of the Act and the regulations.

• Use or wear the equipment, protective devices or clothing the employer

requires.

• Report to the employer or supervisor the absence of/or defect in any

equipment or protective device of which she/he is aware and which may

endanger her/himself or another worker.

• Report to the employer or supervisor any contravention of the Act or the

regulations or the existence of any hazard of which she/he knows.

• Do not remove or make ineffective any protective device required by

the regulations or by the employer without providing an adequate temporary

protective device, and when the need for removing or making

ineffective the protective device has ceased, the protective device will

be replaced immediately.

• Do not use or operate any equipment, machine, device or thing, or work

in a manner that may endanger her/himself or any other worker.

Structure and Functions of the Joint Health and Safety

Committee and the Role of the Worker Member

(Reference: Sections 8 and 9 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act)

Structure

• The Act requires workplaces with 20 to 49 employees to have a Joint

Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) (Section 9 (2)) with a minimum

of two members on the committee. Where 50 or more workers are

employed, the committee must have at least four members. Workplaces

with between five and 20 employees are required to select an employee

health and safety representative.

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• The Minister of Labour may order one JHSC for a multi-site facility

(Section 9 (3.1)).

• At workplaces with less than 20 workers, but more than five, a JHSC is

not required, but the workers must select at least one non-management

health and safety representative from among them (Section 8 (1)). The

designated health and safety representative has similar rights and powers

as JHSC members (Section 8).

• At least half of the JHSC members should be workers who do not exercise

managerial functions, selected by the union(s) in the workplace.

• Management and worker representatives on the JHSC should each designate

one of their members to act as a co-chairperson.

• At least two committee members – one representing the employer and

one representing workers – must be chosen for training to become certified

by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). Certified

members have specific authority and responsibilities and play a key role

on the committee. (See Section “Certification Training” on page 42.)

• JHSC meetings will be held at least every three months, but generally not

more often than once a month. Meetings may also be convened at the call

of either co-chairperson.

• * Guests may be invited to attend a meeting with prior notice and the

agreement of both co-chairpersons.

• Worker members will be given time from work to attend all meetings of the

JHSC. All time spent attending JHSC meetings will be considered as work

time and members will be paid for this time at their regular or premium

rate, as may be appropriate.

• All members of the JHSC should be given paid time off work, as necessary,

to carry out their responsibilities between regular committee meetings.

• Preparation time, one hour in duration or longer as the committee determines,

should be provided as necessary to all members of the JHSC to prepare for a

committee meeting. Committee members will be paid for this time.

• The names and work locations of the committee members must be posted

in the workplace, where they are most likely to be seen by the workers.

The employer is responsible for posting this information.

* Recommendation only; not mandated by legislation.

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Functions

• Identify and make recommendations on situations that may be a source

of danger or hazard to workers and recommend improvements pertaining

to health and safety of workers in the workplace. An employer who

receives a written recommendation from the committee will respond

within 21 days. The response will include a timetable for implementing

the recommendations. The employer is obliged to provide written reasons

for not accepting committee recommendations.

• Recommend to the employer, the establishment, maintenance and monitoring

of programs, measures and procedures for health and safety in the

workplace.

• Obtain information from the employer regarding identification of hazards

and health and safety experience, and practices and standards in similar

workplaces (Section 9 (18) (d)).

• Obtain information and be consulted about the conducting or taking of

tests of any equipment, machine, device, article, thing, material or biological,

chemical or physical agent. One of the committee members present

at the testing will be a worker representative.

• Inspect the workplace once a month. In cases where the workplace is too

large, the committee should establish a monthly inspection schedule that

ensures the entire workplace will be inspected at least once a year. A

worker member of the JHSC will be given time to inspect the workplace.

The worker member will be supplied with necessary information and

assistance as required for the purpose of carrying out an inspection of the

workplace. In multi-site facilities with a single minister-ordered JHSC,

the worker members of the committee may designate a non-member to

conduct inspections (Section 9 (3.2)).

• Participate in designated substance assessments and in the development

of control programs under these regulations.

• Request, receive and review Material Safety Data Sheets for hazardous

substances used in the workplace.

• Review accident and illness reports and statistics, and other related information,

with a view to preventing future occurrences (Section 12, 51, 52,

Occupational Health and Safety Act and Section 5, Health Care

Regulations). Research conducted by the Director of Engineering

Services for the Insurance Company of North America suggests a ratio of

accident reporting of 1-10-30-600. That means for every reported disabling

injury, there are 10 minor injuries, 30 property damage accidents

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and 600 incidents with no visible injury or damage (“near-miss” accidents).

This ratio does not take into account unreported incidents. Using

the theoretical ratio above, and the reported accident rate, we might begin

to extrapolate the frequency of these occurrences.

• Receive and review the results of all inspections and monitor assessment

and investigation reports.

• * Ensure the education of workers on safe practices and hazards of the

workplace.

• * Receive and review new health and safety directives, policies and procedures

issued by the government.

• * Review studies and programs regarding occupational health and safety

issues.

• * Identify issues appropriate for discussion by the JHSC.

• * Develop a strategy for the provision of information to all levels of staff.

* Recommendation only; not mandated by legislation.

Worker Member

• The worker member will inform the JHSC of situations that may be a

source of danger or hazard to workers and the committee will consider

such information within a reasonable period of time.

• A worker member or members of the JHSC will be designated to immediately

investigate fatalities and critical injuries. The member(s) chosen

to investigate can inspect the actual scene of the accident, but cannot alter

it without permission from an inspector. She/he/they can also inspect any

machine, equipment, substance, etc. that may be connected with the accident.

She/he/they also may question witnesses to the accident, if those

persons are willing to be interviewed by the designated worker member.

• A worker member will review investigation reports of all fatal and critical

injuries and illnesses, and develop recommendations for future prevention.

• * A designated worker member should be given time to assist management

in the investigation of all lost time due to workplace injuries and illnesses,

which are potentially serious.

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• A worker member or members of the JHSC will be given time from work

to accompany Ministry of Labour officials during inspections and investigations

of the workplace.

• A worker member will be given time to be present at any investigation

into a work refusal and will attend such an investigation without delay.

* Recommendation only; not mandated by legislation.

Worker Inspections of the Workplace

The Occupational Health and Safety Act provides the right to designated worker

members of the JHSC to inspect the workplace. These inspections should be carried

out once a month.

In multi-site facilities with a single minister-ordered JHSC, the worker members

of the committee may be advised to designate a non-member to conduct inspections.

That designate would have all the powers and rights of a JHSC member

(Section 9 (3.2) (3.3)).

In some facilities, inspections may be performed by an inspection team consisting

of representatives from both management and workers. An arrangement such

as this may be set out in the committee’s “Terms of Reference,” which details

rules governing the work of the committee. However, the Act requires only that

a committee member representing workers performs the inspection (Section

9(23) (26)).

The worker inspector should identify safety hazards and health hazards present

in the workplace. She/he should review the unit’s accident/injury reports (to

which she/his is entitled) before conducting an inspection as they are a good

starting point for determining the most pressing problems in an area. As well,

she/he should be aware of recent staff concerns that have been communicated to

her/him by members working on that unit, such as an increase in back injuries,

needlestick injuries, a lack of protocols for the handling and administration of

cytotoxic drugs or inadequate ventilation.

For example, when staff concerns, such as needlestick injuries, are brought to the

worker inspector’s attention, she/he should record details, including the unit

where the needlestick occurred, the procedure being performed, patient interference

with the procedure, the type of sharps device being used, etc. This information

should then be taken back to the JHSC to analyze, with the intention of

making a recommendation for the removal of unsafe sharps devices by replacing

them with safety engineered sharps devices.

A block diagram of the different areas to be inspected will facilitate the identification

of a hazard, where it is present and who is exposed or likely to be exposed.

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The block diagram is a floor plan of a work area, such as a nursing unit. It shows

location of all equipment, chemicals, drugs, isolation rooms, storage areas,

doors, windows and the location of workers.

The worker inspector should list the substances, physical hazards and processes

present or utilized in each work area. She/he can ask the workers in the area if

they have identified any hazards to either their health or safety. She/he may need

to work hard to solicit information about hazards and concerns. It has been

ONA’s experience that too often health care workers believe that hazards are just

part of the job and, as such, may not recognize or report problems that, in fact,

can be reduced or eliminated.

The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System program ensures that

products are adequately labelled, providing information regarding their composition.

The employer must supply this information by providing a Material Safety

Data Sheet (MSDS). The MSDS, which is obtained from the supplier or manufacturer

of the product, provides advice on the short-term or acute effects of

exposure to the product, but may not provide information about long-term or

chronic effects. It is important for the worker inspectors to know that additional

information may be obtained from sources, such as the Canadian Centre for

Occupational Health and Safety, the Workers Health and Safety Centre and the

Ontario Nurses’ Association.

The worker inspector should review protocol or procedure book recommendations,

if any, to determine whether current procedures adequately protect workers

carrying out a process or procedure, e.g. appropriate infection control measures.

Also, more and more of our members require accommodation of their disabilities

in the workplace. Return to Work or modified work plans are negotiated by

workplace parties. During workplace inspections, the worker inspector should

review the work of accommodated members to ensure they are working safely

within their restrictions and that proper equipment is available.

In our experience, employers rarely consider the purchase of ergonomic equipment

and, more often than not, attempt to accommodate workers with graduated

hours or a buddy system. This may be suitable for some truly temporary accommodations,

but in permanent arrangements, ergonomic equipment must be considered.

If the worker is having difficulties, a worker inspector can report this to

the committee, which may identify equipment, such as mechanical lifts and

ergonomic supplies that could adequately accommodate the worker.

Following the inspection, the worker inspector should meet with other worker

members of the JHSC to review the inspection report. Health and safety hazards

noted in the inspection must be discussed and possible solutions developed. The

worker inspector should take the inspection report to the next committee meeting

to discuss situations that may be hazardous to workers’ health and safety. The

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committee should consider possible solutions and make written recommendations

to the employer to address these issues.

Confidentiality of Information

JHSC members may, at times, have access to confidential information.

Therefore, the Act requires them to observe some basic rules of confidentiality

(Section 63). Committee members, except where allowed under this Act or as

required by another law:

• Must not disclose information about any workplace test or inquiries conducted

under the Act or regulations.

• Must not reveal the name of any person from whom information is received.

• Must not disclose any secret manufacturing process or trade information.

• May disclose the results of any medical examinations or tests of workers

only in a way that does not identify anyone.

Role of ONA Health and Safety Representative(s) on the JHSC

The health and safety representative on the JHSC:

• Is elected/selected by the union.

• Has a working knowledge of the Occupational Health and Safety Act,

regulations and available resources

• Responds to the health and safety concerns of members seeking assistance.

• Attends all JHSC meetings.

• Takes unresolved health and safety concerns to the JHSC for resolution

and advocates for recommendations in writing that will resolve concerns.

• Reports back and maintains close contact with the Local executive

regarding health and safety matters.

• May chair the Bargaining Unit’s health and safety committee.

• May act as co-chairperson of the JHSC from time to time.

• Ensures that JHSC meeting agenda items are submitted in time for discussion

at the meeting.

• Participates in workplace inspections, as required, and identifies hazards to

the committee to engage it in finding solutions to eliminate those hazards.

• May participate in the development and distribution of JHSC’s meeting

agendas.

• May record and distribute JHSC meeting minutes.

• Liaises with the Bargaining Unit’s negotiating committee regarding

improvements to the collective agreement in the areas of occupational

health and safety and workers’ compensation.

• May contact the Ministry of Labour if the Internal Responsibility System

fails and health and safety concerns remain unresolved.

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• Liaises with the health and safety representatives of other local unions in

the workplace.

• Caucuses with other health and safety committee members from other

unions before meetings to gain consensus on approaches to issues.

• Has completed at least a basic occupational health and safety course

(strongly recommended).

• Assists in carrying out the mandate of the JHSC.

• Acts as the certified worker when selected by worker members of the

committee.

• May act as lead on ONA’s regional health and safety network, if designated

by the Local Coordinator.

ONA “leads” on regional health and safety networks will extract and share information

from ONA’s Bargaining Unit health and safety “leads” for regional network

teleconferences.

Administrative Process of the JHSC

• The JHSC should develop “Terms of Reference,” which, as mentioned

earlier, sets out rules governing the work of the committee (other than

those determined by the Act).

• The committee will reinforce the cooperative solving of health and safety

problems and facilitate information dissemination among workers and

management.

• Any worker may raise a concern verbally or in writing regarding health

and safety in the workplace. If possible, health and safety issues should

be addressed to the worker’s immediate supervisor before they are

brought to the JHSC.

• Unresolved health and safety concerns should be brought to the JHSC for

discussion and resolution.

• In the Terms of Reference, the committee should establish the quorum

necessary to conduct business.

• The chairpersons should agree on an agenda and forward a copy to all

committee members five working days prior to the meeting. A provision

should be made to allow additions to the agenda with shorter notice

where pressing circumstances exist. This procedure should be set out in

the Terms of Reference.

• One JHSC member should be designated to record minutes of proceedings

at all committee meetings. In some facilities, the employer may provide a

secretary to perform this function.

• ONA JHSC members should ensure that all problems, resolutions, timeframes

and responsibility for action are accurately recorded in the minutes.

• In the event of disagreement over an individual agenda item, the differing

positions should be recorded in the minutes.

• Minutes should be signed by both co-chairpersons or their alternates, who

are responsible for ensuring the signed minutes are posted, circulated to all

committee members and senior management and filed at the workplace.

• Minutes may be posted subject to the confidentiality requirement of

Section 63 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

• All recommendations of the JHSC should be forwarded to senior management

for a response in writing within 21 days (Section 9(20)).

• Efforts should be made to promote cooperation among representatives

from all unions representing workers on the JHSC.

How to Use Your Internal Responsibility System

If the Internal Responsibility System (IRS) in your workplace is working properly,

employers, supervisors and workers have fulfilled their responsibilities under the

Occupational Health and Safety Act as outlined below:

• The employer has established a sound and comprehensive health and

safety policy in conjunction with the JHSC.

• The supervisors are familiar with the Act and regulations and the

employer’s health and safety policies, have knowledge of, and advise

workers of, hazards in the workplace, and promptly address members’

health and safety concerns.

• The JHSC is active, knowledgeable and gathers information, conducts

inspections, reviews all accident reports, near misses and statistics to

identify hazards and the locations of the hazards, and investigates issues

with a view to making written recommendations to the employer to

resolve health and safety issues and improve the health and safety measures

and procedures in the workplace.

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• Members are trained about the hazards in the workplace, including the

hazardous materials in their areas. When a member has a concern, she/he

raises it with the supervisor, who, as a “competent person” under the Act,

resolves the issue. On the rare occasion, the matter is not resolved by the

supervisor, and the member must raise it with the JHSC member, who

will bring it to the attention of the entire JHSC. The JHSC will then make

written recommendations to the employer. If the IRS does not resolve the

issue, the Ministry of Labour is called upon to resolve disputes and issue

orders. The ministry inspector will ask if the member has exhausted the

IRS before she/he will come to the workplace to investigate the concern.

So, if time and circumstances permit, the member should work through

the IRS first. However, at least one case suggests that workers who have

a limited right to refuse under Section 43 are entitled to have their health

and safety concerns dealt with promptly by a Ministry of Labour inspector

because of the limitations on the right to refuse. (Decision no. OHS

94-21.) The member should also report the breakdown of her/his IRS to

the Bargaining Unit/Local/Labour Relations Officer.

Internal Responsibility System

Procedure for Resolving Health and Safety Problems

See the following diagram on “Procedure for Resolving Health and Safety

Problems.”

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- 27 -


Examples of the Internal Responsibility System in Action

Sample Scenario 1

A member works in a medical unit in a hospital. She has recently stuck herself

with a contaminated needle. She talks to colleagues and it seems this happens

often in that unit. The patients on the unit are particularly difficult to handle. It

appears that safety-engineered sharps devices would prevent injuries.

What Does the Member Do

The member reports the incident(s) to her supervisor and points out that the

equipment (needle device) currently in use may again endanger her or another

worker (Section 28 (1) (c)).

What Does the Supervisor Do

The supervisor examines the situation, the patient and the equipment and advises

workers on the unit of the potential danger in the area, and takes any other reasonable

precaution to protect the workers (Section 27 (2) (a) (c)).

The supervisor reports the hazard to her/his supervisor (Section 28 (1) (c)), however,

neither is authorized to purchase equipment to remove the hazard and has

no ideas about alternative protection. The member doesn’t receive a response

from the supervisor or she/he says there is nothing she/he can do.

Unfortunately, further needlestick injuries are reported.

What Does the Member Do

She raises the unresolved health and safety concern with the ONA member on

the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC).

What Does the ONA Member on the JHSC Do

The ONA member ensures the unresolved health and safety concern is added to the

next JHSC meeting agenda and that sufficient time is allotted to discuss the issue.

She/he raises the issue at the JHSC meeting, providing all available information.

What Does the JHSC Do

The committee asks the employer to provide information about work practices

and standards and equipment available and/or in use in other health care facilities

(Section 9 (18) (d) (ii)). After investigating and considering all available

information, including accident reports, the JHSC makes written recommenda-

tions to the employer on measures and procedures and the introduction of safety-engineered

sharps devices for use in the unit by the end of the quarter.

(Section 9 (18) (b) (c)).

The committee recommends in writing the employer also conducts training in

new measures, procedures and safety-engineered sharps devices (Section 9 (4),

Health Care and Residential Facilities Regulation). Recommendations should be

numbered.

What Does the Employer Do

The employer responds in writing to the committee’s recommendations within

21 days, as required by the Act. The employer provides a timetable for implementation

of 10 years, citing lack of funds as the reason for disagreeing with the

committee’s recommended implementation timeframe (Section 9 (20) (21)). This

matter remains unresolved.

Now What

The Internal Responsibility System (IRS) did not resolve this issue. The ONA

JHSC member, or any other worker, can call the Ministry of Labour to complain

of an unresolved safety concern. The inspector should investigate the complaint

and may issue orders. To assist the inspector, it will help if the member can cite

relevant sections of legislation that are being violated. If the inspector does not

investigate or simply says there is no violation, the member should consult the

Bargaining Unit/Local/Labour Relations Officer.

In addition to the physical illness/injury from the needlestick itself, the member

may also suffer from a psychological illness (such as post-traumatic stress disorder)

as a result of the needlestick and not know how this exposure will affect

her/his health. If she has difficulty coping with the sharps injury, she should

immediately report this to her family doctor and seek treatment. She should also

file a claim with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, as these types of

injuries are compensable. (See What Should a Member Do if She/He Believes

She/He Has Sustained a Work-related Injury or Illness on page 45.)

Sample Scenario 2

A member works in a psychiatric unit in a general hospital. A recent strike has

all but shut down the neighbouring local psychiatric hospital and patients are

being diverted to this unit. The acuity level of the patients has risen, as evidenced

in the unit’s “Corporate Indicator Reports.” Nonetheless, staffing levels have not

increased. Last night, when a colleague was on her lunch break, a violent patient

pulled a fire extinguisher from the wall and threatened the member at the nursing

station. Luckily, another patient summoned a maintenance worker from the

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- 29 -


other end of the hall to come to her aid and together they were able to calm the

patient and call for police assistance. The patient was removed from the facility.

Fortunately, no one was hurt.

What Does the Member Do

The incident should be reported to the supervisor and it should be pointed out

that it is hazardous to work in this situation without additional staff to aid in an

emergency (Section 28 (1) (d)).

What Does the Supervisor Do

The supervisor examines the situation and the patient and advises workers on the

unit of the potential danger to workers in the area (Section 27 (2) (a) (c)).

The supervisor reports the hazard to her/his supervisor (Section 28 (1) (c)),

however, neither is authorized to increase staff. They meet with the member and

her colleagues and advise that the patient is the primary concern and they should

be more sensitive in their handling of him. Their response to this concern leaves

the member feeling chastised for poor nursing care and does not address the

safety concern.

The member learn that two more volatile patients have been admitted in the past

24 hours and the patient who caused the disturbance last night is to be returned

to the facility tomorrow. The staffing level remains the same.

What Does the Member Do

The member raises the unresolved health and safety concern with the ONA member

on the JHSC.

What Does the ONA Member on the JHSC Do

The ONA member raises the issue with the worker co-chair of the JHSC and suggests

an emergency meeting of the JHSC (Section 9 (33)).

What Does the JHSC Do

The union co-chair approaches the management co-chair to call a meeting of the

JHSC. The management co-chair refuses to call the meeting, saying the quarterly

meeting was held just two weeks ago. The management co-chair cites Section

9 (33) of the Act and the protocol developed by the committee, as authority to

deny meetings more than once every three months (Section 9 (18) (b) (c)).

This matter remains unresolved and has become urgent.

Now What

The employer is wrong. Section 9(33) of the Act requires the committee to meet

“at least once every three months,” establishing a minimum, not a maximum, frequency.

The employer, who is required by law to take every precaution reasonable

in the circumstances for the protection of a worker, still has an opportunity

to prevent injuries by using the JHSC. It would certainly be reasonable in this circumstance

to meet and fully discuss the hazard and the options.

The IRS did not resolve this issue. The ONA JHSC member or any worker

should immediately call the Ministry of Labour to complain of an unresolved

safety concern. In this case, it would be wise for the member to impress on the

inspector that she has a limited right to refuse unsafe work in the workplace. She

can remind the inspector that because of this limited right, a heightened response

is expected to health and safety complaints, and that the inspector and her/his

response may be the only thing standing between the member and a serious

injury. The inspector should investigate the complaint and may issue orders.

To assist the inspector, it will help if the member can cite relevant sections of legislation

that are being violated. If the inspector does not investigate or simply

says there is no violation, the member should consult the Bargaining

Unit/Local/Labour Relations Officer.

If the member has suffered any type of injury or illness, including a psychological

illness (such as post-traumatic stress disorder) as a result of the violent incident,

she should also see her family doctor immediately to report it and seek

treatment. She should also file a claim with the Workplace Safety and Insurance

Board, as these types of injuries can be compensable. (See What Should a

Member Do if She/He Believes She/He Has Sustained a Work-related Injury or

Illness on page 45.)

Sample Scenario 3

Yet another colleague has sustained a serious shoulder injury in the unit; another

colleague almost hurt herself last night. A member is worried that she will be next.

What Does the Member Do

The member reports the incident(s) to her supervisor and points out he equipment

(bed crank) currently in use may again endanger her or another worker

(Section 28 (1) (c)).

The member knows that others have repeatedly reported to the supervisor and her

supervisor that the aging beds with their mechanical cranks are a safety hazard.

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What Does the Supervisor Do

The supervisor shrugs her/his shoulders and says, “It’s not my problem. That’s

why you have a safety committee.” The member is frustrated.

What Does the Member Do

The member raises the unresolved health and safety concern with the ONA member

on the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC).

What Does the ONA Member on the JHSC Do

The ONA member ensures the unresolved health and safety concern is added to the

next JHSC meeting agenda and that sufficient time is allotted to discuss the issue.

The ONA member raises the issue at the JHSC meeting, providing all available

information. The ONA member points out that this concern has been raised on

numerous units and supervisors consistently respond that it is not their problem

and divert the issue to the JHSC.

What Does the JHSC Do

The committee asks the employer to provide information about work practices

and standards and equipment available and/or in use in other health care facilities

(Section 9 (18) (d) (ii)).

After investigating and considering all available information, including accident

reports and training records, the committee concludes:

• The old beds are a danger to workers.

• Supervisors in the facility are not “competent” under the Act.

The committee makes written recommendations to the employer, which points

out that injury reports are high and many are linked to the aging beds. The committee

recommends the beds be replaced with electric adjustable hospital beds.

In its recommendations, the committee further points out the employer is

required to ensure supervisors are “competent,” meaning they must not only

know how to arrange and direct the work, they must be familiar with the Act and

regulations, and the hazards of the work.

The committee advises that the employer is vulnerable to a “Workwell Audit” by

the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). In its recommendations, the

committee explains that the WSIB can initiate this audit, which is a comprehensive,

time-consuming safety audit of an employer who has a high accident rate.

In this audit, the WSIB looks for, among other things, documented evidence of

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health and safety training for supervisors. The committee further notes that

should the employer fail such an audit, it is subject to a surcharge of up to

$500,000.

The committee highly recommends the employer immediately replaces the beds and

institutes a health and safety training program for supervisors in the facility (Section

9 (18) (b) (c)) and Section 9 (4) Health Care and Residential Facilities Regulation).

What Does the Employer Do

The employer immediately sees the error of its ways and responds in writing to

the committee’s recommendations the next day, well within the 21 days required

by the Act. The employer gives a three-month timetable for the purchase of new

beds and completion of supervisor safety training. The employer further invites

worker members who have been trained by the Workers Health and Safety Centre

to develop and deliver the supervisor training (Section 9 (20) (21)).

Now What

EUREKA! This matter has been resolved by the IRS!

The foregoing are composite scenarios loosely crafted from actual experiences

reported by ONA members. While in some instances, the IRS may resolve the

safety concerns of our members, too often there is a need to call the Ministry of

Labour as workplace parties do not work together to establish and maintain safe

and healthy work environments. As a result, it is important for ONA members to

learn and assert their rights as workers, health and safety representatives and

Joint Health and Safety Committee members and strengthen their IRS to protect

them and their colleagues from harm.

When the IRS breaks down, members should not hesitate to call the Ministry of

Labour and emphasize the need for a quick response, particularly in a workplace

where workers do not have a clear right to refuse unsafe work. If members

encounter difficulties, the Bargaining Unit/Local/Labour Relations Officer

should be contacted for advice.

Monitoring the Workplace

Monitoring is a method used to measure the quantity of a hazard to which a

worker is exposed in the workplace. One example is monitoring an operating

room and a recovery room to measure the amount of waste anaesthetic gases present

in the air. If nitrous oxide exceeded the allowable government regulation of

25 parts per million over the period of an eight-hour work day, the employer

would be in violation of the regulation and legally required to take measures to

eliminate excess gas from the work atmosphere.

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Currently, workers do not have the right to require regular monitoring of the

workplace; they must rely on the employer to initiate such monitoring programs.

However, the JHSC can recommend this be done and the Ministry of Labour can

order it so. Nurses should press the JHSC for regular monitoring in certain areas,

such as the operating room and recovery room, and where ethylene oxide sterilizers

are used.

Role of the Ministry of Labour in Occupational Health

and Safety at the Workplace

The Occupational Health and Safety Act is administered by the Ministry of

Labour’s Occupational Health and Safety branch. The division’s main offices are

at 655 Bay Street in Toronto and there are district offices around Ontario (listed

at the back of this guide.) The Occupational Health and Safety branch provides

consultative services to employers and workers.

In keeping with the ministry’s responsibility to enforce the Act and its regulations,

and to ensure that the health and safety of workers is being policed, various

sections of the branch carry out inspections and investigations.

Inspector’s Powers

Under Section 54, an inspector has the authority to:

• Enter any workplace without a warrant or notice.

• Question any person, either privately or in the presence of someone else,

who may be connected to an inspection, examination or test.

• Handle, use or test any equipment, machinery, material or agent in the

workplace and take away samples.

• Examine documents or records and remove them from the workplace to

make copies; this also includes the taking of photographs.

• Require that any part of a workplace or the entire workplace not be disturbed

for a reasonable period of time to conduct an examination, inspection

or test.

• Require that any equipment, machinery or process be operated or set in

motion or that a system or procedure be carried out that may be relevant

to an examination, inquiry or test.

• Examine and copy material concerning workers’ training programs.

• Direct a Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) member representing

workers, or a health and safety representative, to inspect the workplace

at specified intervals.

• Seize (with a warrant) anything that is either given to the inspector or is

in plain view if the inspector believes it is evidence of a violation of the

Act or regulations.

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• Require the employer, at its expense, to have an expert test and provide a

report on equipment, machinery, materials, agents, etc. This also includes

having a professional engineer test equipment or machinery and verify

they are not likely to endanger a worker or to stop their use pending such

test results.

• Require an employer to provide information about any process or agent

used in the workplace, or intended to be used there, and the manner of its

use, which includes information on ingredients, composition and properties

of the agent, toxicological effects of the agent, effects when exposed

to skin, inhaled or ingested, and the protective and emergency measures

that would be used in the event of exposure.

A worker representative should accompany an inspector. This worker representative

may be a member of the JHSC, a health and safety representative, a nonmember

of the JHSC selected by worker members of a minister-ordered multisite

JHSC, or a knowledgeable and experienced worker. The worker must be considered

at work during the inspection and paid at the applicable rate of pay.

In the event that no such worker representative is present during the inspection,

the inspector must speak to a reasonable number of workers about their health

and safety concerns.

Inspector’s Orders

An inspector is required to prepare a report and make recommendations for

improved health and safety practices (Section 57). Where violations have

occurred, the inspector will issue written orders to the employer to comply with

the law within a certain period of time or, if the hazard is imminent, to comply

immediately. An inspector’s order may require the employer to submit a plan to

the ministry, specifying when it will be complying with the order.

An inspector can also be called in to investigate a complaint. A recent unfortunate

amendment to the legislation permits the inspector to conduct a work refusal

investigation over the telephone (Section 43 (7)). Remember, given that a member’s

right to refuse unsafe work is limited, the only thing standing between

her/him and imminent jeopardy may be a call to the Ministry of Labour. At least

one case suggests that workers who do not have the right to refuse under Section

43 are entitled to have their health and safety concerns dealt with promptly by a

ministry inspector because of the limitations on the right to refuse. (Decision no.

OHS 94-21.)

Where an order has been made to correct a violation of the Act or regulations and

the violation in question is dangerous to the health or safety of a worker, the

inspector may also order the following:

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• Any place, equipment or machinery, material process, etc. not be used

until the violation has been corrected.

• The work be stopped.

• The workplace be cleared of workers and access to the workplace be prevented

until the hazard is removed.

• Any hazardous chemical, physical or biological agent not be used.

When the inspector has stopped work, the employer may resume work without

an inspection only under the following two conditions:

• The employer has notified an inspector that an order has been complied.

• A JHSC member representing workers or a health and safety representative

advises an inspector that, in his or her opinion, the order has been complied.

Where an inspector has issued an order to an employer to remedy a violation of

the Act or regulations, the employer must send written notification to the ministry

within three days of when it believes the order has been complied (Section 59 (1)).

This notice must be signed by the employer. It must also be accompanied by a

signed statement from a worker member of the JHSC or health and safety representative,

indicating that she/he agrees or disagrees with the employer’s notice of

compliance with the order (Section 59 (2)). The committee member or representative

can, for any reason, decline to sign such a statement (Section 59 (2)(b)).

The employer is also required to post both the notice of compliance and the original

order in a location where they are most likely to be seen by the workers. This

notice must be posted for 14 days.

The employer’s notice of compliance to the ministry does not mean that compliance

with an order has been achieved, as this can only be determined by the inspector.

An inspector’s order, or decision not to issue an order, can be appealed by anyone

affected by the order, including a worker or a union. According to Section 61

of the Act, an appeal can be made to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB)

in writing within 30 days after the issuance of the order.

The OLRB will assign a Labour Relations Officer to attempt mediation, and if that

fails, will send a “Notice of Consultation or Hearing” to all parties. Once an application

to appeal has been filed, a party may also apply for a suspension of the

order pending disposition of the appeal. A decision on appeal by the board is final.

In some circumstances, the Ministry of Labour may also initiate a prosecution,

charging the employer and/or supervisor, or any other party, with a violation of the

legislation. If the government refuses to prosecute an employer for violating the

legislation, an individual or a union can file charges before a justice of the peace.

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Regulation for Health Care and Residential Facilities

The health care regulation is similar to the regulation for industrial facilities in that

it covers areas such as the requirement to work in confined spaces and the use of

scaffolding and rules about operating machinery, ladders, explosives and other

hazards associated with work in an industrial setting. However, the regulation also

contains detailed rules on hazards specific to health care facilities, i.e. there are

rules on anaesthetic gases, antineoplastic drugs and the handling of sharps.

Section 96 on anaesthetic gases outlines the employer’s obligation to install effective

scavenging systems to collect, remove and dispose of waste anaesthetic gases,

install anaesthesia machines, which reduce contamination of air in the operating

room, and implement a program to inspect and maintain scavenging systems and

anaesthesia machines. The regulation also calls for the adoption of work practices

to reduce contamination of room air with anaesthesia gases and for the regular

maintenance of ventilation systems where anaesthetic gases are likely to be present.

The regulation does not require regular air monitoring for anaesthetic gas

levels, although an earlier draft of the legislation called for monitoring at threemonth

intervals and whenever requested by workers in those areas.

Section 97 on antineoplastic drugs requires the employer to develop written measures

and procedures to protect workers who may be exposed to antineoplastic

agents or material or equipment contaminated by those agents. These include

procedures for normal storage, preparation, handling, transportation, administration

and disposal of the drugs and drug-contaminated materials; emergency procedures

to be followed if a worker is exposed to the drug; measures for the use

of engineering controls, work practices, appropriate personal protective equipment;

and an appropriate biological safety cabinet for the preparation of antineoplastic

drugs. The section also obliges the employer to provide training and

instruction in these measures and procedures to workers who may be exposed to

antineoplastic drugs.

Sections 113 and 114 deal specifically with the disposal of sharps and the issue

of recapping needles. Section 113 defines “sharps” as “needles, knives, scissors,

scalpels, broken glass or other sharp objects” and states the requirement to discard

them in puncture-resistant containers.

Section 114 requires that used needles be discarded immediately after use, without

being bent or recapped, into a puncture-resistant container. It does allow for

the possibility that there are times when immediate disposal of a used needle into

a puncture-proof container may not be practicable. In these cases, the regulation

allows for workers to use an employer-provided device to recap needles “that

protects workers from being accidentally punctured while they are recapping.”

Workers using such devices must be instructed and trained in their use, and

although the employer may choose the device, this must be done in consultation

with the JHSC or health and safety representative.

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The regulation also sets out the employer’s obligation to develop procedures and

a written occupational health and safety policy, in consultation with the JHSC

(Section 8 and 9). This obligation already exists under the Act, but is reinforced

by the regulation, which lists specific measures and procedures to be addressed.

Among other things, the list includes proper hygiene practices, control of infections,

immunization and inoculation against infectious diseases, biological,

chemical and physical hazards, and the handling, cleaning and disposal of soiled

linen, sharps and waste.

Hazardous Conditions and Substances

Nurses are often exposed to both safety and health hazards at work. Some hazards

are actual, others potential. Some have acute effects, some chronic and some both.

The following describes some of the safety and health hazards that affect nurses.

Safety Hazards

A safety hazard is something that has the potential to cause an injury.

Occupational injuries are usually the result of accidents. Accidents usually occur

when a hazard is not adequately controlled.

Poorly maintained equipment, unsuitable equipment, insufficient staffing, poorly

designed work areas, inclement weather, violent patients/clients and poor

channels of communication all can contribute to a working environment full of

safety hazards to nurses.

Many nurses are injured. They hurt their backs and sustain other musculoskeletal

injuries while lifting and moving patients. They are especially at risk of being

exposed to diseases such as Hepatitis B, C and HIV from needlestick and sharp

injuries. They are involved in motor vehicle accidents while travelling between

clinics. They are assaulted by patients and visitors (either verbally or physically,

which is considered violence in the workplace). They injure themselves working

alone because there is no one to help them or because they did not know they

needed help.

Historically, employers and even other workers have placed the blame for accidents

on “careless workers.” A number of Canadian, British and American studies

have disproved this widespread belief. Unfortunately, few employers have

paid attention to these studies, although researchers have demonstrated that if

you look beyond the immediate obvious cause of an accident, you will usually

find social or physical conditions in the workplace that led to the accident.

The Workers Health and Safety Centre (WHSC) has produced an excellent video

entitled, Hazards of Behaviour Based Safety, which can be borrowed from the

ONA library at head office in Toronto.

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Workplace inspection and critical accident investigation and analysis followed by

strong corrective action and enforcement are key to the reduction and elimination

of safety hazards at work. It has also been demonstrated that training employees

to perform a procedure safely and modifying the work environment and equipment

do prevent accidents.

The WHSC, with ONA’s assistance, produced training materials entitled,

Reducing Injuries: An Ergonomic Approach to Patient Handling. This program

was introduced and piloted to the cardiovascular unit at the Toronto General

Hospital (TGH) in early 1999. The unit employed approximately 90 registered

nurses. When the pilot began, 11 of those 90 workers had already sustained

work-related injuries, consisting of four neck and seven back injuries. Since the

pilot was tested and the program implemented with new techniques and appropriate

equipment, ONA’s Melda Okoye, Education Facilitator on the JHSC for

the TGH at the University Health Network, reports there have been no new

injuries in this unit.

For more information about programs and training available from the WHSC,

call the organization at the number provided at the back of this guide.

Health Hazards

A potential health hazard exists when a worker is exposed to any agent that can

cause illness or disease. Occupational illnesses and diseases are those caused by

exposure to a hazard in the workplace. Health hazards may be categorized as

physical, chemical, biological, work design or stress hazards. Reproductive hazards

also exist in the workplace, which may be caused by physical, chemical or

other agents:

• Physical: Physical hazards are forms of energy, which may harm the

body when exposure takes place. Noise, vibration, temperature and radiation

are examples of physical hazards that nurses may encounter in the

workplace.

• Chemical: Chemical hazards occur in a variety of forms (solids, liquids,

vapours, gases, dusts, fumes or mists). Examples of chemical hazards frequently

encountered by nurses are antineoplastic drugs, anaesthetic gases

and cleaning and sterilizing chemicals, such as ethylene oxide and glutaraldehyde.

• Biological: Biological agents are living things or substances, which can

cause illness or disease in humans. They include bacteria, viruses, fungi

and parasites. In their daily work, nurses encounter a wide variety of

potentially hazardous biological agents, such as hepatitis, tuberculosis,

meningitis and influenza.

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• Work Design: The design and organization of work can cause harm to a

worker by placing stresses and strains on the musculoskeletal system.

The elements of work design include design of workstations, equipment,

physical environment and the actual organization of work (known as

“ergonomics”). When these elements are not designed to fit those who do

the work, the result may be damage to workers’ muscles, tendons, ligaments,

nerves and/or blood vessels. Workplace Safety and Insurance

Board figures on allowed lost-time claims data, from January 2003, show

that back, neck and shoulder injuries comprise 52 per cent of lost-time

compensable occupational injuries in nursing for 2002. Also for 2002,

51.7 per cent of injuries to nurses and nursing assistants in hospitals are

categorized as sprains and strains. These injuries arise mainly from the

nature of nursing work. Many nurses work short-staffed, lifting, moving

and transferring patients repeatedly through each shift with little assistance,

either from mechanical lifts or other staff. Patient rooms are often

small and poorly designed with little room to manoeuvre, and patients

may be combative or uncooperative.

• Stress: Stress and burnout often result from working alone in the community,

working shifts and functioning in a work environment with a lot

of responsibility and little authority. The health effects resulting from

these hazards include migraine headaches, ulcers and other GI disorders

and emotional mental health deterioration.

• Reproductive Hazards: A reproductive health hazard is any agent that

has a harmful effect on the adult male or female reproductive system or

the developing fetus. The agent may be a chemical exposure (waste

anaesthetic gases), a physical exposure (radiation), a biological exposure

(German measles) or a psycho-social hazard due to a work practice, such

as shift work or inadequate staffing. Hazards manifest themselves in the

adult reproductive system through loss of sexual desire, infertility, impotence

and mutation in the germ cell (ovum or sperm). When a substance

causes damage directly to the fetus, it is called a teratogen. Most teratogens

reach the fetus by crossing the placental barrier, interfering with

fetal growth and development. If the influence is severe, the pregnancy

may end in miscarriage. If the fetus survives, it may have a low birth

weight, birth defects or developmental, behavioural or health effects that

may not become apparent until a few years after birth.

Routes of Entry of Physical, Chemical and Biological Hazards

• Inhalation: Inhalation through the lungs is a prevalent route of entry for

workplace hazards, e.g. cytotoxic drugs, glutaraldehyde, ethylene oxide.

• Ingestion: Ingestion can occur either by swallowing contaminated material

or eating with contaminated hands, e.g. salmonella.

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• Absorption: Absorption can occur through the skin, a cut or a puncture,

e.g. Hepatitis B, C, HIV and solvents.

Once a health hazard gains entry to the body, it can do damage at three important sites:

• The site of entry (lungs, stomach, intestines or skin).

• The blood or lymphatic system.

• The organs that work at removing the substance from the body (liver or

kidneys).

Damage can also be done to other organs, as well as to the bones and the nervous

system.

Health hazards have acute and/or chronic effects. Acute effects occur in the shortterm

after exposure and generally require high-levels of exposure. They can be

fatal, but are often treatable. Chronic diseases often become apparent only after a

great deal of damage has been done. The time period between the first exposure to

the health hazard and the onset of the resulting disease is called the latency period.

The latency period can be as long as 15 to 40 years after the workplace exposure.

Workers should report all exposures and details of the exposure regardless of

whether there is immediate injury/illness. The exposure should be reported to the

employer, the worker’s doctor and in writing to the Workplace Safety and

Insurance Board (WSIB). If tests show seroconversion or other damage in the

future, the member will at least have a record of the occupational exposure that

likely caused her/his illness. As a result, she/he may be entitled to WSIB benefits.

Principles of Controlling Health Hazards

Once a health hazard is identified and measured, it must be reduced or eliminated

through a control program. Controls can be applied in the following three

ways, listed in priority order:

1. At the Source

• Substitution with a less hazardous substance.

• Engineering controls (fixing, replacing or redesigning faulty equipment).

• A redesign of the process, practice or procedure.

• A proper maintenance program.

2. Along the Path

• Local ventilation.

• Dilution ventilation.

• Housekeeping.

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3. At the Worker

• Barriers, such as personal protective equipment.

• Administrative controls, such as the rotation of workers.

Occupational Health and Safety Education and Training

Certification Training

Under Section 9(12) of the Act, the employer “shall ensure that at least one member

of the committee representing the constructor or the employer, and at least

one member representing workers, are certified members.”

To be certified, a Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) member must have

completed part two of “Workplace-specific Hazard” training. This training is in

addition to part one, “Basic Certification” training.

The Workplace Health and Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) deadline for completion

of part two certification training was December 31, 2001. The employer

is responsible for ensuring this training has been conducted. JHSC members who

have only completed part one certification training will no longer be considered

certified by the WSIB.

The Ministry of Labour enforces the Occupational Health and Safety Act

requirements for certified members of JHSCs. When a contravention is found,

the inspector will issue an order to the employer or constructor to comply with

the requirement.

Information on certification training requirements can be found on the WSIB’s

Web site at www.wsib.on.ca/wsib/wsibsite.nsf/public/CertificationTraining or by

calling the WSIB at (416) 344-1016 or toll-free 1-800-663-6639.

Certification training must be paid for by the employer and conducted by a recognized

Safe Workplace Association. Section 9(14) clearly states it is the right of

the workers to choose who will be certified. One of the Safe Work Associations

providing certification training is the Workers Health and Safety Centre (WHSC).

Although the Act requires that only one worker and one manager per JHSC

receive certification training, some employers have agreed to train more. This has

been the case in some ONA workplaces, which are 24-hour, 365 day-per-year

operations and contain a variety of potential hazards. The employer may agree to

train more JHSC members to attempt to have a least one certified committee

member in the facility at all times.

Some JHSCs have encountered difficulties with the labour members of the committee

when the employer agrees to certify only one worker member. Worker

members of the committee, who may represent a number of unions as well as

unorganized workers, have had difficulty resolving who will receive training. Strife

of this kind is unfortunate, often disrupts the regular work of the committee and

may provide the employer with an excuse to resist complying with other health and

safety obligations. As much as possible, labour members of the JHSC should work

together to develop a strategy and long-term plan around certification training.

If ONA JHSC members have questions and/or concerns about certification training,

they should contact their Bargaining Unit President/Local/Labour Relations Officer.

Other Training

Educational opportunities in occupational health and safety are available from a

variety of organizations. One example is the Workplace Hazardous Materials

Information System program, which legislated mandatory training on hazardous

substances for all workers covered by the Act.

However, the majority of workers who want education in health and safety matters

turn to their union first. ONA regularly offers our members workshops on

occupational health and safety to assist with basic concepts and prepare a health

and safety representative to perform more effectively.

Valuable and practical education programs are also offered by the WHSC, other

Safe Workplace Associations, such as the Health Care Health and Safety

Association (see the back of this guide for contact information), other unions and

colleges and universities. ONA health and safety representatives should survey

their own communities to determine what courses and programs are available.

For example, some useful programs from the WHSC include:

• Reducing Injuries: An Ergonomic Approach to Patient Handling.

• Making Joint Health and Safety Committees Work.

• Preventing Musculoskeletal Injuries for Joint Health and Safety Committees.

• Level 1 – Health Care.

• Regulations for Health Care and Residential Facilities.

• Applying Ergonomics to Prevent Musculoskeletal Injuries.

• When Disaster Strikes: Critical Incident Stress and Post-Traumatic

Stress Disorder.

Occupational Health and Safety for Community Care Givers.

• Violence in the Workplace.

• Infectious Diseases.

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• Hazards of Working Alone.

• Job Task Analysis.

• Anaesthetic Gases.

• Biological Hazards.

• Hazards of Solvents.

• Emergency Preparedness.

• Hours of Work.

• Indoor Air Quality and Ventilation.

• Workplace Policies and Programs.

• Stress.

• Mould.

• Gambling with the Future: Occupational Reproductive Hazards.

• Laboratory Hazards.

• Office Layout and Design.

SECTION II:

WORKPLACE SAFETY AND INSURANCE (WSIB)

(Formerly Workers’ Compensation)

Workplace Safety and Insurance

What is Workplace Safety and Insurance (Workers’ Compensation)

Workplace Safety and Insurance (formerly Workers’ Compensation) is an

employer-funded system of compensation benefits available to workers who sustain

work-related injuries or illnesses. The system is administered by the

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), according to the Workplace

Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA).

Who is Eligible for Workplace Safety Insurance Benefits

WSIB benefits are available to most employees in Ontario if they sustain “a personal

injury by accident arising out of and in the course of employment.”

What Does “A Personal Injury by Accident Arising out of and in the Course

of Employment” Mean

The word “accident” has a much greater meaning in the WSIA. Basically, any

worker who is injured or who becomes ill as a result of her/his work should be

eligible for compensation. The injury or illness may occur immediately after a

specific accident at work, such as falling, slipping or lifting something that is too

heavy. Other injuries/illnesses/diseases may develop gradually as a result of the

type of work performed or the working environment. For example, tendonitis or

carpal tunnel syndrome are caused by repetitive movements over a period of

time; occupational asthma may occur after repeated contact with some sensitizers;

ongoing exposure to latex gloves may cause dermatitis; and back conditions

may develop over time due to repeated exposure to heavy or awkward positions.

The WSIB will also compensate workers if their workplace is responsible for

aggravating a pre-existing asymptomatic or symptomatic condition.

What Should a Member Do if She/He Believes She/He Has Sustained a

Work-Related Injury or Illness

1. She/he should immediately report the injury/illness to the employer, supervisor,

occupational health personnel or other person designated by the

employer to receive injury reports.

2. She/he should ask the employer to complete a Form 7 (Employer’s Report of

Injury/Disease). This is the official WSIB reporting form. She/he should

sign Form 7.

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3. If she/he is uneasy about signing the Form 7, she/he should sign a Form

1492. Both forms are available from the employer.

4. She/he should seek medical attention right away. If her/his family doctor is

not available, she/he should go to the emergency department at the hospital

or to a clinic of her/his choice. She/he must tell the doctor this is a workrelated

injury or illness and ensure the doctor sends a Physician’s First

Report (Form 8) to the local WSIB office. She/he must ensure that at each

visit the doctor has assessed, documented and sent to the WSIB all information

about the objective physical findings. (NOTE: Injured workers have the

right initially to choose the doctor who will treat their injury or illness. For

example, if they receive treatment from a doctor at a hospital’s emergency

room first, they can choose either to continue treatment with that doctor or

consult their family doctor. Once having made this choice, they can only

switch doctors with the permission of the WSIB. Their treating physicians,

however, are permitted to refer them to any necessary specialists without

prior approval from WSIB. We do not recommend that members choose the

employer’s occupational health doctor as their initial choice of health care

practitioner.)

5. She/he should tell coworkers as soon as possible, but before leaving work,

that she/he injured her/himself and explain how.

6. She/he should write to WSIB about the injury in detail and, if the employer

tells her/him the injury/illness is not work-related or that it is considered sick

time instead, advise the WSIB.

7. If the employer has incident reports available, the member should complete

one in detail, documenting all areas of the body that were even slightly

affected or involved in the injury/illness, and ask for a copy. If there are no

incident reports available, she/he should write a short note to the employer,

recording the date, time, nature of the accident, injury or illness and all areas

of the body that were even slightly involved. She/he should keep a copy of

this note for personal records.

8. She/he should report the injury or illness to her/his Bargaining Unit

President/Local/Labour Relations Officer.

9. If the WSIB sends her/him report forms, such as a Worker’s Report of Injury

or Disease (Form 6) or a Worker’s Progress Report, she/he should complete

the report in detail, sign it and return it to the WSIB immediately.

10. She/he should continue to seek regular medical attention for the injury or illness,

always having the doctor assess, document and submit to the WSIB

her/his objective physical findings.

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Time Limits to Claim WSIB

Does WSIB Impose Time Limits to Make a Claim for Benefits for an Injury

YES. Section 21 (1) states: “A worker shall file a claim as soon as possible after

the accident that gives rise to the claim, but in no case shall he or she file a claim

more than six months after the accident or, in the case of an occupational disease,

after the worker learns that he or she suffers from the disease.”

If a Member Misses the Time Limit, Will the WSIB Grant an Extension to

Claim for Benefits

In some cases, the WSIB might, but for accidents after January 1, 1998, it is quite

strict. However, Section 22 (3) does state: “The Board may permit a claim to be

filed after the six-month period expires if, in the opinion of the Board, it is just to

do so.”

The WSIB has developed a policy that deals with the issue of time-limit extension

and that policy is applicable to all accidents after January 1, 1998.

Since the policy is not applicable to accidents before January 1, 1998, any worker

who failed to file a claim for an accident before that date should still do so.

The WSIB will likely adjudicate these claims in the same manner it did before

the 1998 amendments to the legislation (Bill 99). Time limits existed in the old

legislation, but they were seldom applied.

Employer’s WSIB Obligations

What Must the Employer Do Once a Member Reports a Possible Work-

Related Injury or Illness

1. The employer must provide first aid and keep a record of that first aid.

2. The employer will provide transportation (if the worker needs it) to a hospital,

a physician located within a reasonable distance or the member’s home.

The employer will pay for the transportation.

3. The WSIA states the employer must report the injury or illness to the local

WSIB office within three days if the member is not able to earn her/his full

wages because of the injury/illness or if the accident necessitates health care

(medical attention from a qualified medical practitioner). If the member only

needs first aid, the employer does not have to report it. The report must be

made on a special WSIB form, called Employer’s Report of Accidental

Injury/Industrial Disease (Form 7).

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WSIB policy states: “Employers must report a work-related accident to the

WSIB if they learn that a worker requires health care and/or:

• Is absent from regular work.

• Earns less than regular pay for regular work (e.g. part-time hours).

• Requires modified work at less than regular pay.

• Requires modified work at regular pay for more than seven calendar days

following the date of accident.”

WSIB policy further states that it must receive the employer’s complete accident

report (Form 7) within seven business days of the employer learning

of the reporting obligation (business days are Monday to Friday and do not

include statutory holidays).

4. The employer must provide a copy of Form 7 to the worker at the same time

the form is sent to the WSIB (applicable for any accident that occurs on or

after January 1, 1998).

5. WSIB benefits are payable beginning the shift immediately following the

shift on which the injury happened. The employer must pay the member’s

full wages and benefits for the day or shift on which the injury occurred.

6. For one year following an injury, the employer must continue to pay its portion

of the premiums for benefits such as drug plans, etc., when the worker

is absent because of her/his injury. This obligation exists only to the extent

that the employer was making such payments for the worker when the injury

occurred and the worker continues to pay her/his portion of premiums for the

employment benefits, if any, while she/he is absent from work.

Who Decides if an Injury or Illness is Work-Related

The WSIB, not the employer, decides if an injury or illness is work-related. The

employer must report all injuries or illnesses, which a member feels are workrelated.

The employer has no right to intimidate or discipline a member for

reporting an injury or illness. (If the employer tries to persuade the member not

to report to the WSIB, the employer can be reported by calling 1-888-745-3237.

The member can remain anonymous.)

How Does the WSIB Handle a Member’s Claim

When the WSIB receives a report about a member’s work-related injury or illness,

it will assign the member a claim number. This number is very important

and will be on all reports, letters, forms and cheques that relate to the member’s

claim. The member should use this number every time she/he contacts the WSIB.

A claims adjudicator will review the reports sent by the employer and the doctor and

collect any other necessary information to decide if a member’s injury or illness is

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work-related. If the following four “immediates” are present, the claims adjudicator

will generally allow the claim and pay benefits within two to three weeks:

• Immediate onset of pain.

• Immediate complaint.

• Immediate inability to continue working.

• Immediate medical treatment.

If there are problems with a member’s case, the claims adjudicator may ask for

a claim investigation by another employee of the WSIB. This will delay the payment

of benefits.

What are Some Common Reasons for a Delay in the Payment of Benefits

• The employer’s report (Form 7) is either late or missing important

information, such as a member’s earnings or the cause of her/his accident

or illness, etc. The WSIB will usually not pay benefits until it

receives a fully completed Form 7.

• The doctor’s report (Form 8) is late. Similarly, the WSIB will usually

not pay benefits until it receives a medical report.

• The member did not report the injury immediately. Some members

do not report minor injuries (such as a pulled muscle) because they hope

it will just go away. This is a serious problem since many seemingly

minor injuries develop into more serious problems. A delay in reporting

an injury not only delays the payment of benefits, but sometimes results

in a complete denial of a claim if there is insufficient proof that the accident

occurred at work.

• There is some doubt as to the cause of the injury or illness. The WSIB

pays benefits for work-related injuries and illnesses only. If there is doubt

about the cause of an injury or illness, it will take longer for the claims

adjudicator to accumulate the facts necessary to make a decision. This

occurs often in cases where the injury/illness developed gradually over a

period of time. It is useful for the member to try and remember if anything

changed in her/his job that could possibly account for the pain and

to advise the WSIB of the change. Some examples of changes include:

• Increase in workload, with or without an increase in patients.

• Increase in the acuity of patients.

• Increase in the size of the patients.

• Closure of units or beds, affecting work of the member.

• Shortage due to vacations, sick leave or restructuring.

• Faulty equipment.

• Job change or commencement of work in a different unit.

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• Shift from part-time to full-time hours.

• Missed lunches and breaks.

• Unaccustomed workload.

• Change in shift work.

More information about problem-free claims is contained in ONA’s WSIB Tips

document. It is available from Locals, the ONA mailroom or ONA’s Web site.

(See “Resources” at the end of this guide for contact information.)

If a member’s benefits do not arrive within three weeks, she/he should call the

local WSIB office and find out why the benefit payment is delayed. She/he

should have the claim number ready before making the call, or if she/he hasn’t

yet been assigned a claim number, she/he should have a Social Insurance

Number ready.

If her/his WSIB claim is denied, she/he should apply for sickness and accident

benefits or an advance of her/his pay under the collective agreement, where there

is such a provision. Some collective agreements provide for these benefits during

the time the WSIB is making a decision on whether to allow or deny a case.

Even if the WSIB accepts the member’s condition as work-related and pays benefits,

she/he may be eligible for an additional minimum $50 payout from her/his

long-term disability plan (e.g. HOODIP) under the terms of the collective agreement,

where there is such a provision. If a member is injured or ill, she/he should

immediately talk to the Bargaining Unit/Local/Labour Relations Officer about

this benefit because there are time limits for applying.

WSIB Benefits

What Benefits are Available to a Member Who Sustains a Work-Related

Injury or Illness

If a member misses time from work because of a work-related injury or illness,

the WSIB pays for loss of earnings.

This benefit can be referred to in different ways depending on the date of the

accident. This benefit starts the working day after the injury or illness occurred.

The manner in which the WSIB calculates the loss of earnings benefit depends

on the date the injury occurred (see chart).

Date of Injury Rate Based on

On or after January 1, 1998 85 per cent Net Average Earnings

April 2, 1985 to December 31, 1997 90 per cent Net Average Earnings

Before April 1, 1985 75 per cent Gross

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Benefit payments are subject to the WSIB’s annual wage ceiling. For 2003, the

ceiling is $65,600 gross earnings per year. Any wages a member receives above

this ceiling are not covered.

Loss of Earnings Benefits

Loss of Earnings (LOE) benefits is income replacement benefits, which are paid

for accidents after January 1, 1998.

How is a Member’s Pre-Injury Take-Home Pay Calculated

The first 12 weeks of LOE is based on the member’s Short-term Average Earnings.

These are all the earnings she/he has with all employers at the time of the injury

and include most pay items that would regularly appear on her/his pay cheque,

including payments of a percentage of her/his wage in lieu of benefits, shift premiums,

etc. The WSIB determines the Net Average Earnings (NAE) by subtracting

from the total of the member’s gross wages, any probable income tax deductions,

Canada Pension Plan contributions and Employment Insurance deductions.

If the member is completely unable to earn, the amount paid for accidents after

January 1, 1998 is 85 per cent of her/his net average earnings as described above.

These benefits usually continue uninterrupted as long as the worker and employer

are cooperating in Early and Safe Return to Work measures.

If the member is working in a job that the WSIB thinks is reasonable in light of

her/his medical condition, her/his LOE will be 85 per cent of the difference

between her/his actual wages and her/his wages before the injury.

When the employer will not, or in some cases cannot, offer the member work

within her/his restrictions and the WSIB believes she/he can do some form of

work (although she/he feels she/he cannot), it will likely only pay the member

the difference between the net pre-accident earnings and the net earnings it feels

she/he is “likely to be able to earn” after the injury in “suitable” employment.

Determining What a Worker is Likely able to Earn

To determine what a member will likely be able to earn in the future, the WSIB will

normally make arrangements for the worker to be sent for a Labour Market Re-Entry

(LMR) assessment and plan with an LMR provider chosen by the WSIB.

The WSIB will receive information from the LMR provider on three possible

Suitable Employment Business (SEB) plans. WSIB normally chooses the most

cost-efficient SEB and as long as the worker continues to cooperate in the LMR

plan, benefits will continue.

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When Do LOE Benefits Stop

LOE benefits stop when any one of the following situations occur:

• The worker is no longer impaired by the work-related injury or illness.

• The worker no longer has a loss of earnings in the opinion of the WSIB.

• The worker reaches age 65.

• Two years after the accident date, if the worker was older than 63, but less

than 65.

• The WSIB determines the worker is not cooperating.

If the worker is still impaired at age 65, LOE benefits stop, but a small loss of

retirement income benefits may apply.

How Often Will the Member be Paid

If the worker continues to qualify for an LOE benefit, she/he will receive an LOE

payment every two weeks.

In most cases, after 72 months, the LOE benefit is made permanent (locked in)

with no further reviews after that point (see “Can the LOE be Recalculated After

the 72-Month Point,” below). The LOE may be turned into a lump sum payment

in some situations.

How Often Can the LOE be Re-calculated

LOE benefits may be reviewed every year or whenever a material change in circumstance

(MCC) occurs (see MCC on page 62).

Can the LOE be Re-calculated After the 72-Month Point

In some case, the WSIB can review LOE benefits after the 72-month point where:

• Fraud has occurred or the worker failed to notify the WSIB of a material

change in circumstance.

• The worker was provided with an LMR plan and the plan has not been

completed at the expiry of the 72-month period.

• The worker suffers a significant deterioration in her/his condition that

results in a re-determination of the Non-Economic Loss (NEL) award

under Section 47 of the WSIA.

Timelines for reviews after the 72-month point may occur within 30 days of the

date the LMR plan is completed, and an NEL re-determination may occur within

24 months of the re-determination. This change to the Act is also applicable in

cases where a Future Economic Loss (FEL) has been determined.

What if the Member Has a Recurrence After the 72-Month Point

If the worker is being accommodated in a modified job at no wage loss or has a

partial wage loss at the 72-month point and has a recurrence at that time, but is

unable to prove that she/he has a significant deterioration resulting in a NEL redetermination,

she/he will likely not receive additional benefits from the WSIB

for that recurrence.

Is the LOE Benefit Adjusted for Inflation

Yes. Each year, the WSIB adjusts LOE payments to take inflation into account.

However, it is only adjusted by a very small amount.

What if the Short-term LOE Calculation Does Not Reflect the Member’s

True Loss of Earnings

If the member is in a non-permanent or irregular job where earnings fluctuate:

If Form 7 indicates seasonal or irregular employment, after 12 weeks, the

member’s adjudicator will recalculate the benefit based on her/his Long-term

Average Earnings. These include all earnings the member had in the 24 months

before the injury.

If the member is in a permanent and regular job: The WSIB does not automatically

recalculate the member’s average earnings since the Long-term

Average Earnings are expected to be the same as the Short-term Average

Earnings. The member or employer may request a recalculation if either believes

the Short-term Average Earnings don’t accurately reflect her/his earnings for the

year before the injury (for instance, this may happen if the member worked significant

periods of overtime. In this case, recalculation is normally based on the

12 months of employment before the injury).

LOE payments replace the temporary benefits or FEL benefits that were paid to

a worker in claims prior to January 1, 1998, under Section 37 of the old Workers’

Compensation Act.

Future Economic Loss Benefits

A Future Economic Loss (FEL) award is a monthly payment from the WSIB that

is meant to compensate for future lost earnings due to a long-term injury.

A worker will be considered for a FEL award if she/he is injured after January 2,

1990 and before January 1, 1998, and has a permanent impairment or has been

temporarily disabled for 12 continuous months. Consideration of entitlement to

an FEL award may take place later than this (up to 18 months after the date of

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- 53 -


injury) if the medical condition prevents the worker from participating in a

Labour Market Re-Entry (LMR) Assessment or an LMR Plan. Sometimes a FEL

is delayed by years if the claim was denied, appealed and then won at an appeal.

If the worker is not working at the time of her/his FEL assessment, the WSIB will

determine what kind of work she/he could do and how much that job would pay,

just as in the Loss of Earnings (LOE)/LMR scenario above (see “Determining

What a Worker is Able to Earn” on page 51) A FEL is normally determined after

the worker has been put through an LMR assessment and or plan.

To determine the FEL, the WSIB normally uses wages based on a job that the

LMR provider believes the worker can obtain and do within her/his restrictions.

In making this determination, the LMR provider should consider the following:

• The worker’s medical restrictions.

• Her/his personal and vocational characteristics (for example, an older

worker may not be able to find work as easily as a younger worker).

• Her chance for success in an LMR program.

• The availability of suitable work in her/his local area.

A worker’s FEL award will be 90 per cent of the net difference between those

potential earnings (called “deemed earnings”) and the amount she/he made

before the injury. If she/he is working in a job the WSIB thinks is reasonable in

light of her/his medical condition, the FEL award will be 90 per cent of the net

difference between her/his actual wages and her/his wages before the injury. Any

money she/he receives from the Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan for

her/his disability will be deducted from her/his FEL award.

FELs can be adjusted whenever there is a material change in circumstance (See

“Material Changes in Circumstances,” page 62.)

The WSIB does not normally review the FEL benefits once 60 months have

expired from the date the initial FEL was determined (this normally equates to

72 months from the date of the accident). The only reason for allowing an FEL

review after this period is the same as noted above in a review of the LOE.

A worker who is in receipt of a partial FEL may also be entitled to a supplement

under Section 43(9) of the Act.

Temporary Wage Loss Benefits

Workers who were injured before January 1, 1998 can receive temporary disability

benefits for a recurrence from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) if

they are not in receipt of a Future Economic Loss benefit. There are two types of

temporary disability Benefits: Temporary Total and Temporary Partial.

Benefits for Permanent Injuries

• Non-Economic Loss paid to workers with accidents on or after

January 2, 1990.

• Permanent Partial Disability paid to workers with accidents before

January 2, 1990.

Benefits for Permanent Impairment for Accidents after January 2, 1990

(Non-Economic Loss)

If a member suffers a permanent impairment from a work-related injury or illness,

the WSIB may pay her/him a Non-Economic Loss benefit, which is supposed

to compensate her/him for the physical, functional or psychological loss

the impairment causes. This benefit is determined when the condition has

reached a point of maximum medical recovery. The amount paid is based on a

legislated base amount times an impairment rating.

The amount of the payment is determined by a formula, which takes into account the

age of the member and the seriousness of the injury. The maximum lump sum payment

for a person 25 years or younger with a 100 per cent impairment is $75,336.07.

Most awards will be a one-time lump sum payment of less than $15,000.

(NOTE: In addition to WSIB benefits, members with long-term or permanent

injuries or illnesses may also be entitled to Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability

benefits, employer disability pension benefits or long-term disability insurance benefits.

This will depend on the collective agreement and the criteria for entitlement in

the pension and long-term disability plans. To qualify for CPP disability benefits, a

member must suffer from a “severe and prolonged” disability that prevents her/him

from pursuing “any substantially gainful employment.” However, even if a member

qualifies for any of these benefits, the amount of payment will likely be reduced or

offset by the amount of WSIB and other disability benefits.)

Permanent Partial Disability (Pension)

Permanent Partial Disability (Pension) can be paid to workers with accidents

before January 2, 1990. There were different Workers’ Compensation laws in

effect then and a permanent impairment was referred to as a “permanent partial

disability.” A worker with permanent injuries prior to January 2, 1990 is entitled

to receive a WSIB pension for her/his injury. The worker may also be entitled to

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eceive what the WSIB calls “pension supplements” when that worker has not

restored her/his earnings capacity.

WSIB Retirement Benefit

After age 65, the worker will no longer receive Long-term Wage Loss benefits.

Instead, she/he may be entitled to a small retirement pension from the WSIB. The

amount of pension depends on the amount of Long-term Wage Loss benefits

she/he received from the WSIB.

Health Care Benefits

Under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, workers are entitled to health

care benefits as may be necessary, appropriate and sufficient as a result of the

injury. This applies both to members who lose time from work and to those who

don’t. Medical care includes prescription drugs, chiropractic treatments and

medical equipment, such as crutches, back braces, etc. The medical care must be

prescribed by the member’s doctor. For example, the WSIB will approve chiropractic

treatment for the first 12 weeks. If the treatment or medical equipment is

unusual or expensive, such as prolonged chiropractic treatments, the member

should call the WSIB first and clear the expense.

If the member must travel outside of her/his hometown to receive medical care,

the WSIB will pay for reasonable travelling expenses.

It is important the member keeps all receipts for prescription drugs, medical

equipment and travelling expenses. She/he must send the original receipts (no

photocopies) to the WSIB to receive payment for these expenses and keep copies.

Early and Safe Return to Work

At What Point Will the WSIB Expect a Member to Return to Some

Form of Work

Regardless of the legislation or the date of the accident, at any time the WSIB

feels a member’s condition has changed from temporarily totally disabled to partially

disabled, the WSIB will expect her/him to mitigate her/his losses. This

means trying to secure work with her/his employer within her/his restrictions, to

search for work within those restrictions with other employers and to not restrict

her/his job search to “health care” employers. The member must cooperate in

medical rehabilitation and in Early and Safe Return to Work (ESRTW). If

ESRTW fails, the member must cooperate in any Labour Market Re-Entry activities.

Failure to do so could result in the WSIB discontinuing the benefits.

When a member is injured at work, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act

requires her/him and her/his employer to work together to ensure “Early and Safe

Return to Work” (ESRTW).

Goal of ESRTW

The goal of ESRTW is an early return to safe and appropriate employment that is:

• Suitable (the member has, or can acquire, the skills necessary to perform

the job, which is not a health or safety risk to her/him or the coworkers).

• Available (the first opportunity of appropriate work that exists with the

employer).

• Within her/his functional abilities.

• A restoration of her/his earnings, if possible, to the pre-accident level.

A Member’s Employer Wants Her/His Doctor to Provide Her/His

Functional Abilities. Does She/He Have to Provide this Information

Yes. This is considered cooperating in the ESRTW process. The term “functional

abilities” refers to what the member is physically capable of doing. This is

determined by her/his doctor or other health care professional and recorded on a

WSIB Functional Abilities Form (FAF). The employer should provide a blank

form for the member to take to the doctor. The member must consent to the

release of the functional abilities information to the employer and the WSIB.

Failure to do so will likely result in the suspension of the WSIB benefit. The

employer is supposed to use this information to try and return the member to

work that is not only safe, but also suitable for her/his abilities.

The FAF should not provide the employer with a diagnosis.

For purposes of WSIB, the only forms members need to sign, as noted earlier, is

Form 7, Form 1492 or Worker’s Form 6. By signing these forms, the member has

officially consented to the release of only the functional abilities information to

the employer.

Sometimes an employer may ask the member to sign another consent authorizing

it full access to all of her/his medical information. The member does not have

to sign this type of consent from the employer for the purpose of receiving WSIB

benefits. If she/he is asked to sign a consent form other than those mentioned in

this guide, the Bargaining Unit/Local/Labour Relations Officer should be contacted

immediately.

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It is extremely important that the FAF and any other medical reports accurately

state what the member is capable of doing. If she/he refuses work that is within the

functional abilities set out in these reports, she/he will be treated as uncooperative

and the benefits will likely be suspended. In some cases, the benefits are reduced.

If the FAF or other medical reports do not accurately state the member’s condition,

she/he should discuss it with a health care professional.

If a member’s doctor believes that she/he is temporarily totally disabled or not

employable, she/he should not list any restrictions on the FAF and should clearly

indicate on the form that she/he is not employable at this time. If her/his doctor

believes she/he is not ready to do any type of work at all, the doctor should

ensure that no restrictions are noted on other forms that are sent to the WSIB.

The Worker’s Role in the ESRTW Process

A worker is required to cooperate with her employer and the WSIB at all times

in her/his ESRTW. Cooperation in ESRTW includes:

• Contacting her/his employer as soon as possible after the injury and maintaining

communications throughout the period of disability or recovery.

• Assisting her/his employer, if required or requested, to identify appropriate

employment.

• Providing the WSIB with any information it requests regarding her/his

ESRTW.

• Notifying the WSIB of any material change in circumstances (see

Material Change in Circumstance” on page 62).

If the worker does not fulfill these obligations, her/his benefits may be reduced

or suspended.

The Employer’s Role in the ESRTW Process

The employer is required to cooperate with a worker and the WSIB at all times

in the ESRTW. Cooperation for the employer includes:

• Contacting the worker as soon as possible after the injury and maintaining

regular contact with her/him throughout the period of disability or recovery.

• Attempting to identify and arrange appropriate employment.

• Providing the WSIB with any information it requests regarding the

ESRTW.

• Notifying the WSIB of any material change in circumstances (see

“Material Change in Circumstance” on page 62).

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The WSIB’s Role in ESRTW

The member and employer bear most of the responsibility for arranging the

ESRTW. The WSIB will be involved as little as possible. The WSIB may, however,

do the following:

• Suggest available resources.

• Monitor the member or employer’s activities and progress.

• Determine whether the member and employer are meeting the obligations.

• Mediate and decide on any disputes that may arise between the member

and the employer.

If there is a dispute between the member and the employer, the member must notify

the WSIB immediately. The WSIB may send a mediator to try and resolve the

dispute. It may also evaluate the workplace or require the member to undergo a

Functional Abilities Evaluation. If a mediator is sent to meet with a member and

the employer, the Bargaining Unit/Local/Labour Relations Officer should be contacted

immediately. If mediation is unsuccessful, the WSIB will make a decision

on whether the member or the employer failed to cooperate.

How Does ESRTW Affect a Member’s Benefits

As long as the member is cooperating in the ESRTW, she/he is entitled to Loss

of Earnings benefits.

What if the Employer Offers Inappropriate or Unsafe Work

Refusing appropriate work will be seen by the WSIB as failing to cooperate. For

this reason, the member should not refuse work offered by the employer without

careful consideration. Unless the work is clearly unsafe for her/him or others, it

is usually best to attempt the work to see if it can be done.

If the member is unsure about whether the work offered is appropriate, she/he

should ask for a copy of the physical demands of the job and review them step

by step with her/his physician, the employer and Bargaining Unit/Local/Labour

Relations Officer to determine demands that may require an accommodation.

If it is clear the work being offered could put the member at risk of re-injury,

she/he should ask the employer to bring in an ergonomist to review the job and

issue recommendations. If the employer refuses, the member should speak to the

Bargaining Unit/Local/Labour Relations Officer about possibly filing a grievance

for failure to accommodate.

She/he should also raise the issue with the Joint Health and Safety Committee

(JHSC), citing the employer for not taking every reasonable precaution for her/his

health and safety. If the worker members of the JHSC cannot convince the commit-

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tee to make a joint recommendation to the employer for the member’s safety, the

worker members of the committee or the member her/himself can call a Ministry of

Labour inspector to investigate this unresolved health and safety concern.

What if the Member is Ready to Return to Work and the Employer Will Not

Let Her/Him

The member must notify the WSIB that there is a dispute and the employer is not

cooperating with her/his ESRTW. She/he may have additional rights to reemployment

under the WSIA and the collective agreement. If this occurs, she/he

should speak to the Bargaining Unit/Local/Labour Relations Officer. If the WSIB

is not successful in getting her/him back to work with the employer, it should

provide the member with a Labour Market Re-Entry assessment to see if she/he

needs assistance to re-enter the labour force.

Labour Market Re-Entry

If the Early and Safe Return to Work (ESRTW) activities are unsuccessful, the

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) will attempt to ensure the member

has the skills, knowledge and abilities to find other work consistent with her/his

physical abilities, which comes as close as possible to restoring the pre-injury earnings.

This process is called Labour Market Re-Entry (LMR).

LMR always includes a LMR Assessment and may or may not also include a

LMR Plan. An LMR Assessment is an evaluation of the member’s skills, abilities

and aptitudes. It is conducted by an outside service provider selected by the

WSIB. As part of the LMR Assessment, the member may be required to undergo

testing to supplement the information in her/his claim file. These tests might

include evaluations of her/his aptitudes, skills and the suitability of particular

jobs, taking into account her/his physical abilities.

The Goal of LMR

The goal of an LMR Assessment is to identify a suitable employment business

(SEB) for the member. In determining an SEB, the provider should have considered:

• The worker’s medical restrictions.

• Her/his personal and vocational characteristics (for example, an older

worker may not be able to find work as easily as a younger worker).

• Her/his chance for success in an LMR program.

• The availability of suitable work in her/his local area.

What is a Suitable Employment Business

An SEB is a type of job, which in the opinion of the WSIB, is safe, suited to a

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worker’s skills, within her/his physical abilities and reduces or eliminates any

loss of earnings resulting from the injury. The LMR Assessment will also attempt

to determine whether or not the worker needs an LMR plan. If she/he does, a plan

will be recommended to the WSIB.

When is a Member Entitled to an LMR Assessment

A member is entitled to an LMR assessment if any of the following occurs:

• It is unlikely that she/he will be re-employed by her/his employer because

of the nature of the injury.

• The employer has been unable to arrange appropriate work.

• The employer won’t cooperate in the ESRTW.

What is an LMR Plan

An LMR Plan is a written plan designed to provide a worker with the skills,

knowledge and abilities to re-enter the labour market in her/his identified SEB.

It must be consistent with her/his physical abilities and reduce or eliminate any

loss of earnings resulting from the injury. If the worker has concerns about a

plan, she/he should continue to cooperate, but let the provider know why the plan

may not be suitable for the injury. Perhaps the plan is to retrain her/him at a university

that is too far to drive, based on her/his precautions. She/he could instead

recommend an alternative approach, such as distance learning. She/he can

always appeal a decision, while still doing whatever she/he can to cooperate.

The plan is developed by the LMR provider in consultation with the worker and,

possibly, her/his health care professional or employer. She/he should try as much

as possible to play an active and ongoing role in the development of the plan.

She/he may want to seek advice from the Bargaining Unit/Local/Labour

Relations Officer before agreeing to a plan or discussing it with the WSIB.

The LMR Plan could also include job modifications or assistive devices if they

are necessary for the worker to attend training or perform her/his SEB.

How Does LMR Affect Benefits

As long as the worker is cooperating, she/he is entitled to Loss of Earnings

(LOE) benefits during the LMR process. If she/he does not cooperate, the benefits

may be reduced or suspended.

The LOE benefits are based on different earnings, depending on where the member

is in the LMR process. If she/he is taking part in an LMR plan, the LOE benefits

will be based on her/his actual pre-injury earnings. If the member has completed

an LMR plan or if she/he was found not to require one, the LOE benefits

will be based on the difference between the pre-accident earnings and the aver-

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age wage in her/his SEB. If she/he has existing skills, the LOE benefits will be

based on the average mid-range wage in the SEB. If she/he must learn new skills,

they will be based on the average entry-level wage in the SEB. This change in

LOE benefits occurs regardless of whether she/he finds work in her/his SEB, or

at all.

Because future benefits are based on the SEB, it is crucial the worker tries as hard

as possible to ensure that the SEB identified for her/him is realistic and actually

reflects her/his abilities. It is equally important she/he receives an LMR plan that

adequately prepares her/him to obtain suitable work.

What is a Material Change in Circumstances

A material change is any change to a worker’s income, health status, job or any

other circumstance that might affect her/his entitlement to WSIB benefits.

Workers are required by law to inform the WSIB about any material change within

10 days. Failure to do so could result in penalties. If a worker is in doubt if something

is a material change, she/he should report it to the WSIB and let it decide.

The Re-Employment Obligation

Since January 2, 1990, employers have an obligation to re-employ an injured

member in her/his old job if she/he can perform the essential duties of the job

with accommodation. For example, if a member can perform the essential duties

of her/his old job using proper lifting equipment, the employer must re-employ

her/him and purchase the appropriate equipment, unless such an accommodation

would cause the employer undue hardship (e.g. bankruptcy). If the employer

does not comply, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) can fine the

employer. However, the WSIB does not have the authority to force the employer

to re-employ the member with the necessary accommodation.

If the member is unable to do the essential duties of her/his old job, even with

accommodation, the employer still has an obligation to offer the member the first

suitable job, if one becomes available. Again, if the employer does not comply,

the WSIB has the authority to fine the employer.

These re-employment obligations last for up to two years after the date of injury

or illness, up to one year after the WSIB determines a member can return to

her/his old job, or until a member reaches 65 years of age. Employers who regularly

employ fewer than 20 employees are exempt from the re-employment

obligation and employees who have less than one year of employment at the time

of the injury are not covered.

An employer also has a duty to accommodate under the Ontario Human Rights

Code (OHRC). ONA’s collective agreements incorporate the Human Rights Code

provisions. Therefore, the duty to accommodate generally arises under the collective

agreement and failure to accommodate may be resolved by filing a grievance

and/or a human rights complaint. Unlike the WSIB, the Human Rights

Commission has the authority to order an employer to re-employ an injured person

and to make the necessary accommodation. Return to Work (RTW) plans and

accommodations that are required for work injuries or non-work-related disabilities

or illnesses should not be treated differently. However, workers injured on

the job, who are seeking a RTW/accommodation, do have an extra bargaining

chip compared to those who are not injured on the job. As stated earlier, employers

under Section 41 of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA) do have

a limited obligation to re-employ and accommodate the injured worker. If not,

they could face being penalized under the WSIA.

Most ONA collective agreements contain an anti-discrimination clause on the basis

of grounds, which include handicap. Most collective agreements also contain a

clause stating that both the employer and ONA have a joint duty to accommodate

handicap employees in accordance with the provisions of the OHRC.

Members should seek assistance from their Bargaining Unit/Local/Labour

Relations Officer when beginning to discuss accommodated work with their

employer. They will also need assistance from ONA if they believe they need to

file a grievance or a human rights complaint.

Appealing a WSIB Decision

What Does a Member Do if She/He is Not Satisfied with a Decision

of the WSIB

All decisions of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) must be put in

writing and sent to the member. A decision can be appealed by either the worker or

the employer. There are two levels of appeal in the Workplace Safety and Insurance

system. After the WSIB adjudicator reconsiders the original decision, the first

appeal is to an Appeals Resolution Officer (ARO) at the WSIB Appeals Branch.

Appeals can be decided in many ways, but typically there are three options:

1. Sixty-day decision option: In this case, an appeals officer provides a decision

based on the information already in the file (ONA does not typically

request this option as most times the result is not favourable for the worker).

2. Decision without a hearing: ONA has been very successful using this

option, especially when the issue is of a medical nature or where the worker’s

credibility is not an issue.

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3. Oral hearing: After the hearing, the ARO provides all parties with her/his

written decision.

The second level of appeal is normally an oral hearing before either a single vicechair

or a panel of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Tribunal. The tribunal

can, however, suggest – or the parties can agree to – alternate means of resolution.

These include mediation, decisions without hearings, etc.

If all goes smoothly, it usually takes about one to two years to appeal a decision

through all the stages.

Does the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA) Impose Time Limits to

Appeal an Adverse Decision of the WSIB

Yes. Depending on the issue, a worker has only 30 days or six months to appeal

an adverse WSIB decision.

Authority

• Section 120 (1) (a) of the WSIA states a worker has 30 days to appeal a

board (WSIB) decision regarding Return to Work (RTW) or Labour

Market Re-entry (LMR).

• Section 120 (1) (b) of the WSIA states a worker has six months to appeal

all other board (WSIB) decisions.

• Section 120 (2) states the notice of objection must be in writing and must

indicate why the decision is incorrect or why it should be changed.

Failure to object to an adverse decision within these deadlines, will likely result

in the worker forfeiting her/his rights to receive the WSIB benefits that she/he

would otherwise have likely been entitled. Failure to object could also affect

future benefits for new injuries or recurrences that the worker might sustain, and

WSIB entitlements.

ONA Representation for WSIB Appeals

Will ONA Appeal a Member’s WSIB Decision

Due to the new legislative time limits that were imposed in Bill 99 legislation,

effective January 1, 1998, ONA developed criteria for representation. It states

that ONA will represent workers in their appeals to the WSIB if they meet our

notification time limits set out below and other representation criteria.

ONA’s Notification Time Limits for Representation

Members who want ONA to represent them, must contact their Bargaining

Unit/Local/Labour Relations Officer within:

• One week if it is a 30-day WSIB appeal.

• Four weeks if it is a six-month WSIB appeal.

• One week of hearing, or being notified, of an employer appeal.

If ONA is unable to represent a member because she/he did not meet the criteria,

staff will advise her/him to still appeal the decision in writing on her/his own to

meet the WSIB time limit and at least secure her/his legislated right to appeal.

When a Member Misses Time Limits to Appeal

If a member has, for some reason, entirely missed the time limit to appeal, we

advise that she/he still sends the WSIB a notice of intent to object to the WSIB

decision. This is because Section 22 (3) of the WSIA dealing with an extension

of time limit states, “The board may permit a claim to be filed after the six-month

period expires if, in the opinion of the board, it is just to do so.”

See diagram 1 on next page, for a flow chart of the appeal process.

How Will a Member Know What the Time Limit is to Appeal the WSIB

Adverse Decision

The WSIB normally indicates the time limit to appeal in the last paragraph of the

last page of the WSIB decision letter.

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Diagram 1

FLOW CHART OF THE APPEAL SYSTEM

SECTION III:

RESOURCES

The Ontario Nurses’ Association

The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) is dedicated to providing all members

with the information and support they need in the important area of occupational

health and safety.

Here’s what we offer:

• ONA provides support to each Bargaining Unit’s occupational health and

safety representative when there has been a perceived violation to the

Occupational Health and Safety Act. Through Local activities, the

Bargaining Unit is the primary provider of occupational health and safety

services to membership. That includes ensuring there is a functioning

Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee at the Bargaining Unit

level when required by the Act. Resource support is provided to

Bargaining Units by the staff of ONA’s four district service teams (North,

South, West and East).

• Each district service team has a Labour Relations Officer (LRO) with the

primary responsibility for planning and coordinating the occupational

health and safety services provided in ONA’s five regions. However, that

does not mean occupational health and safety is the sole function of that

LRO. The district service teams deliver occupational health and safety

services through a variety of means.

• Additionally at the provincial level, support is provided to staff and membership

by the provincial Vice-President who holds the portfolio for occupational

health and safety, and the LROs who specialize in Occupational

Health and Workers Safety Insurance Board matters and the Professional

Practice Specialists.

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Head Office – Toronto

400-85 Grenville St.

Toronto, ON. M5S 3A2

Tel: (416) 964-8833

Toll-free: 1-800-387-5580

Fax: (416) 964-8864

Web site: www.ona.org

Regional Offices

Hamilton

Sudbury

205-393 Rymal Rd. W. Unit 1, 760 Notre Dame Ave.

Hamilton, ON. L9B 1V2

Sudbury, ON. P3A 2T3

Tel: (905) 383-3341 Tel: (705) 560-2610

Fax: (905) 574-0933 Fax: (705) 560-1411

Kingston

Thunder Bay

306-4 Cataraqui St. 214 Woodgate Centre

Kingston, ON. K7K 1Z7

1139 Alloy Dr.

Tel: (613) 545-1110

Thunder Bay, ON. P7B 6M8

Fax: (613) 531-9043 Tel: (807) 344-9115

Fax: (807) 344-8850

London

Timmins

204-750 Baseline Rd. E. 110A-707 Ross Ave. E.

London, ON. N6C 2R5

Timmins, ON. P4N 8R1

Tel: (519) 438-2153 Tel: (705) 264-2294

Fax: (519) 433-2050 Fax:(705) 268-4355

Orillia

Windsor

126A-210 Memorial Ave. 220-3155 Howard Ave.

Orillia, ON. L3V 7V1

Windsor, ON. N8X 3Y9

Tel: (705) 327-0404 Tel: (519) 966-6350

Fax: (705) 327-0511 Fax: (519) 972-0814

Workers Health and Safety Centre

The Workers Health and Safety Centre (WHSC) is one of the Safe Workplace

Associations funded by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. Based in

Ontario, this worker-driven organization’s mandate is occupational health and

safety education and research. Its Web site also contains information on training

programs and a service allowing you to ask health and safety-related questions.

Head Office

102-15 Gervais Dr.

Don Mills, ON. M3C 1Y8

Tel: (416) 441-1939

Toll-free 1-888-869-7950

Fax: (416) 441-1043

Web site: www.whsc.on.ca

Regional Offices

South Central (Hamilton)

Northern Ontario (Sudbury)

848 Main St. E. 43 Elm St. S., Ste. 110

Hamilton, ON. L8M 1L9

Sudbury, ON. P3C 1S4

Tel: (905) 545-5433 Tel: (705) 522-8200

Fax: (905) 545-3131 Fax: (705) 522-8957

Southwestern (Sarnia)

Eastern Ontario (Ottawa)

1000 Finch Dr. 310-309 Cooper St.

Sarnia, ON. N7S 6G5

Ottawa, ON. K2P 0G5

Tel: (519) 337-6083 Tel: (613) 232-7866

Fax: (519) 337-6807 Fax: (613) 232-3823

Ottawa

211-1400 Clyde Ave.

Nepean, ON. K2G 3J2

Tel: (613) 226-3733

Fax: (613) 723-0947

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Health Care Health and Safety Association

The Health Care Health and Safety Association of Ontario (HCHSA) is a not-forprofit

organization, designated as a Safe Workplace Association under the

Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (S.O. 1997). The mandate of HCHSA is to

assist health care sector organizations in Ontario adopt practices and approaches

that result in ongoing reductions in the occurrence of workplace accidents,

injuries and occupational diseases.

Head Office

4950 Yonge St., Ste. 1505

Toronto, ON. M2N 6K1

Tel: (416) 250-7444

Toll free: 1-877-250-7444

Fax: (416) 250-9190

Web site: www.hchsa.on.ca

Ontario Federation of Labour

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) issues position papers and statements,

lobbies the provincial government and the opposition, and coordinates organized

labour activities on occupational health and safety issues.

Head Office

15 Gervais Dr., 2 nd Floor

Don Mills, ON. M3C 1Y8

Tel: (416) 441-2731

Web site: www.ofl-fto.on.ca

Occupational Health Clinic for Ontario Workers

The Occupational Health Clinic for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) is a non-profit

organization. It is one of the Safe Workplace Associations funded by the

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. OHCOW was established to help:

• Prevent work-related illnesses and injuries.

• Improve workers’ physical, mental and social well-being.

• Explain things in your workplace that can make you sick or injured.

• Provide reliable medical, hygiene, ergonomic and health information.

OHCOW can tell you how to make changes to your workplace to avoid

illness and injury in the future.

* The clinic’s services are free of charge to workplace parties.

Offices

Toronto

Hamilton

90 Lawrence Ave. W., Main Floor 848 Main St. E.

Toronto, ON. M6A 3B6

Hamilton, ON. L8M 1L9

Tel: (416) 449-0009 Tel: (905) 549-2552

Toll-free: 1-800-596-3800 Toll-free: 1-800-263-2129

Fax: (416) 449-7772 Fax: (905) 549-7993

Sudbury

Windsor

1300 Paris St. 547 Victoria Ave.

Health Unit Building

Windsor, ON. N94 4N1

Sudbury, ON. P3E 3A3 Tel: (519) 973-4800

Tel: (705) 523-2330 Fax: (519) 973-1906

Fax: (705) 523-2606

London

Sarnia-Lambton

3-380 Adelaide St. N. 171 Kendall St.

London, ON. N6B 3P6

Point Edward, ON. N7V 4G6

Tel: (519) 432-3535 Tel: (519) 337-4627

Fax: (519) 642-7834 Fax: (519) 337-9442

Web site: www.ohcow.on.ca

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Criminal Injuries Compensation Board

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board can award compensation to victims

of crimes of violence occurring in Ontario.

Head Office

439 University Ave., 4 th Floor

Toronto, ON. M5G 1Y8

Tel: (416) 326-2900

Toll-free: 1-800-372-7463

Fax: (416) 326-2883

Web site: www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/about/vw/cicb.asp

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

The purpose of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

(CCOHS) is to promote a safe and healthy working environment by providing

information and advice about occupational health and safety.

CCOHS is Canada’s national resource for occupational health and safety information.

Its Inquiries Service answers questions about health or safety in the

workplace.

The Inquiries Service can now provide this information in two ways: through its

global Internet service, OSH Answers, and its traditional person-to-person telephone/mail

information service.

Head Office

250 Main St. E.

Hamilton, ON. L8N 1H6

Tel: (416) 572-2981

Toll-free: 1-800-263-8466 (inquiries only)

Web site: www.ccohs.ca

Ontario Ministry of Labour

Occupational Health and Safety Branch

655 Bay St., 14 th Floor

Toronto, ON. M7A 1T7

Tel: (416) 326-7770

Toll-free: 1-800-268-8013 (province-wide)

Fax: (416) 326-7761

Web site: www.gov.on.ca/LAB/ohs/ohse.htm

Regional Offices

To report fatalities and critical injuries during day-time hours, contact the number

for the region applicable to you. To report fatalities and critical injuries after

hours, call (416) 325-3000 or toll-free 1-800-268-6060.

NORTHERN REGION (Sudbury, Timmins, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie)

Sudbury East/Sudbury West

Timmins

159 Cedar St., Ste 301 Ontario Government Complex

Sudbury, ON. P3E 6A5

P.O. Bag 3050 “D” Wing

Tel: (705) 564-7400 Highway 101 E.

Toll-free: 1-800-461-6325

South Porcupine, ON. P0N 1H0

Sudbury East Fax: (705) 564-7076 Tel: (705) 235-1900

Sudbury West Fax: (705) 564-7437 Toll-free: 1-800-461-9847

Fax: (705) 235-1925

Thunder Bay

Sault Ste. Marie

435 James St. S., Ste. 222 70 Foster Dr., Ste. 480

Thunder Bay, ON. P7E 6S7

Sault Ste. Marie, ON. P6A 6V4

Tel: (807) 475-1691 Tel: (705) 945-6600

Toll-free: 1-800-465-5016 Toll-free: 1-800-461-7268

Fax: (807) 475-1646 Fax: (705) 949-9796

WESTERN REGION

(Hamilton, Halton, Brant, Niagara, London, Windsor, Kitchener)

Hamilton/Brant

Halton

1 Jarvis St., Main Floor 1 Jarvis St., Main Floor

Hamilton, ON. L8R 3J2

Hamilton, ON. L8R 3J2

Tel: (905) 577-6221 Tel: (905) 577-6221

Toll-free: 1-800-263-6906 Toll-free: 1-800-263-6906

Fax: (905) 577-1200 Fax: (905) 577-1324

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Brant

Niagara

1 Jarvis St., Main Floor 301 St. Paul St., 8 th Floor

Hamilton, ON. L8R 3J2

St. Catharines, ON. L2R 7R4

Tel: (905) 577-6221 Tel: (905) 704-3994

Toll-free: 1-800-263-6906 Toll-free: 1-800-263-7260

Fax: (905) 577-1324 Fax: (905) 704-3011

London North/London South

Windsor

217 York St., 5 th Floor 4510 Rhodes Dr., Ste. 610

London, ON. N6A 5P9

Windsor, ON. N8W 5K5

Tel: (519) 439-2210 Tel: (519) 256-8277

Toll-free: 1-800-265-1676 Toll-free: 1-800-265-5140

Fax: (519) 672-0268 Fax: (519) 258-1321

Kitchener

155 Frobisher Dr., Unit G213

Waterloo, ON. N2V 2E1

Tel. (519) 885-3378

Toll-free: 1-800-265-2468

Fax: (519) 883-5694

CENTRAL REGION (Toronto East, Durham, Toronto North, Toronto West,

Peel, York, Barrie)

Barrie

114 Worsley St., Ste. 201

Barrie, ON. L4M 1M1

Tel. (705) 722-6642

Toll-free: 1-800-461-4383

Fax: (705) 726-3101

EASTERN REGION (Ottawa, Kingston, Peterborough)

Ottawa West/Ottawa East

Kingston

1111 Prince of Wales Dr. Beechgrove Complex

Ste. 200

51 Heakes Lane

Ottawa, ON. K2C 3T2

Kingston, ON. K7M 9B1

Tel: (613) 228-8050 Tel: (613) 545-0989

Toll-free:1-800-267-1916 Fax: (613) 545-9831

Fax: (613) 727-2900

Peterborough

300 Water St. N.

3 rd Floor, South Tower

Peterborough, ON. K9J 8M5

Tel: (705) 755-4700

Toll-free: 1-800-461-1425

Fax: (705) 755-4724

Toronto East

Durham

2275 Midland Ave, 67 Thornton Rd. S.

Unit #1, Main Floor

Oshawa, ON. L1J 5Y1

Scarborough, ON. M1P 3E7 Tel: (905) 433-9416

Tel. (416) 314-5300 Toll-free: 1-800-263-1195

Fax: (416) 314-5410 Fax: (905) 433-9843

Toronto North

Toronto West

1201 Wilson Ave. 1201 Wilson

Building E., 2 nd Floor

Building E., 2 nd Floor, West Building

Downsview, ON. M3M 1J8

Downsview, ON. M3M 1J8

Tel: (416) 235-5330 Tel: (416) 235-5330

Fax: (416) 235-5080 Fax: (416) 235-5090

Peel North/Peel South

York

1290 Central Parkway W., 4 th Floor 1110 Stellar Dr., Unit 102

Mississauga, ON. L5C 4R3

Newmarket, ON. L3Y 7B7

Tel. (905) 273-7800 Tel: (905) 715-7020

Toll-free: 1-800-268-2966 Toll-free: 1-888-299-3138

Fax: (905) 615-7098 Fax: (905) 715-7140

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Office of the Worker Advisor

The Office of the Worker Advisor (OWA) assists non-unionized workers with

their Workplace Safety and Insurance claims. It also has a research section.

Head Office

123 Edward St., Ste. 1300

Toronto, ON. M5G 1E2

Fax: (416) 325-4830

Tel: (416) 325-8570

Toll-free: 1-800-660-6769

Web site: www.gove.on.ca/lab/owa/home.htm

CENTRAL REGION:

Hamilton

Mississauga

1 Jarvis St. 10 Kingsbridge Garden Circle, #512

Hamilton, ON. L8R 3J2

Mississauga, ON. L5R 3K6

Tel: (905) 577-1301 Tel: (905) 568-2359

Fax: (905) 540-9355 Fax: (905) 568-1086

Toll-free: 1-800-263-9209 Toll-free: 1-800-387-8806 (705/519)*

Toll-free: 1-800-267-3949 (905)* (* Area Code)

Scarborough

Toronto

4002 Sheppard Ave. E., #502 123 Edward St., Ste. #1300

Scarborough, ON. M1S 4R5 Toronto, ON. M5G 1E2

Tel: (416) 325-9846 Tel: (416) 325-8570

Fax: (416) 325-9855 Fax: (416) 325-4830

Toll-free: 1-800-268-4343 Toll-free: 1-800-660-6769

SOUTHWEST REGION:

London

St. Catharines

495 Richmond St., Ste. #810 301 St. Paul Ave., Floor 8

London, ON. N6A 5A9

St. Catharines, ON. L2R 3M8

Tel: (519) 873-4490 Tel: (905) 704-3945

Fax: (519) 873-4500 Fax: (905) 704-3019

Toll-free: 1-800-265-7924 Toll-free: 1-800-414-4512

NORTHWEST REGION:

Elliot Lake

Sault Ste. Marie

50 Hillside Dr. N. 70 Foster Dr., Ste. 480

Elliot Lake, ON. P5A 1X4

Sault Ste. Marie, ON. P6A 6V4

Tel: (705) 848-6413 Tel: (705) 945-5861

Fax: (705) 848-2408 Fax: (705) 759-6788

Toll-free: 1-800-461-6023

Thunder Bay

Timmins

Ontario Government Bldg.

60 Wilson Ave., 3 rd Floor

435 S. James St. Timmins, ON. P4N 2S7

Ste. 335, 3 rd Floor Tel: (705) 268-3454

Thunder Bay, ON. P7E 6E3 Fax: (705) 267-3633

Tel: (807) 475-1280 Toll-free: 1-800-461-9854

Fax: (807) 475-1283

Toll-free: 1-800-465-3966

NORTHEAST REGION:

Downsview

Ottawa

West Building 11 Holland Ave., #705

1201 Wilson Ave., 2 nd Floor Ottawa, ON. K1Y 4S1

Downsview, ON. M3M 1J8 Tel: (613) 728-2006

Tel: (416) 235-5550 Fax: (613) 728-8052

Fax: (416) 235-5594 Toll-free: 1-800-267-6599

Toll-free:1-800-387-7495

Sudbury

159 Cedar St., Ste. 304

Sudbury, ON. P3E 5A5

Tel: (705) 564-1621

Fax: (705) 564-4126

Toll Free: 1-800-461-6372

Waterloo

Windsor

155 Frobisher Dr., Unit G (213) 880 Ouellette Ave., Ste. #601

Waterloo, ON. N2V 2E1

Windsor, ON. N9A 1C7

Tel: (519) 888-9063 Tel: (519) 254-7558

Fax: (519) 883-5659 Fax: (519) 254-1741

Toll-free: 1-800-265-2466 Toll-free: 1-800-265-5649

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Workplace Safety And Insurance Board (WSIB)

Head Office

200 Front St. W.

Toronto, ON. M5V 3J1

(416) 344-1007

1-800-387-0080

Fax: (416) 344-2707

Web site: www.wsib.on.ca

Offices

Guelph

Hamilton

(deals with Agricultural sector only. 120 King St. W.

For all other small business services Hamilton, ON. L8N 4C5

in the area, see Kitchener.)

Mailing Address:

1 Stone Rd. W. P.O. Box 2099

4 th Floor, South Tower Station LCD1

Guelph, ON. N1G 4Y2 120 King St. W.

Tel: (519) 826-7490

Hamilton, ON. L8N 4C5

Toll-free 1-888-259-4228 Tel: (905) 523-1800

Fax: (519) 826-4678 Toll-free: 1-800-263-8488

Fax: (905) 521-4502

Kingston

Kitchener

234 Concession St. 55 King St. W., 3 rd Floor

Ste. 304

Kitchener, ON. N2G 4W1

Kingston, ON. K7K 6W6 Tel: (519) 576-4130

Tel: (613) 544-9682 Toll-free: 1-800-265-2570

Toll-free: 1-800-267-9461 Fax: (519) 576-2667

Fax: (613) 544-1510

St. Catharines

Sudbury

301 St. Paul Street, 8 th Floor 30 Cedar St.

St. Catharines, ON. L2R 7R4

Sudbury, ON. P3E 1A4

Tel: (905) 687-8622 Tel: (705) 675-9301

Toll-free: 1-800-263-2484 Toll-free: 1-800-461-3350

Fax: (905) 687-7117 Fax: (705) 675-9367

Thunder Bay

Timmins

1113 Jade Court, Ste. 200 119 Pine St. S., Ste. 310

Thunder Bay, ON. P7B 6V3

Pine Plaza

Tel: (807) 343-1710

Timmins, ON. P4N 2K3

Toll-free: 1-800-465-3934 Tel: (705) 267-6427

Fax: (807) 343-1702 Toll-free: 1-800-461-9856

Fax: (705) 264-9131

Windsor

2485 Ouellette Ave.

Windsor, ON. N8X 1L5

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 1617

Windsor, ON. N9A 7B7

Tel: (519) 972-4254

Toll-free: 1-800-265-7380

Fax: (519) 972-4181

London

North Bay

148 Fullarton St., 7 th Floor 128 McIntyre St. W.

London, ON. N6A 5P3

North Bay, ON. P1B 2Y6

Tel: (519) 663-2331 Tel: (705) 472-5200

Toll-free: 1-800-265-4752 Toll-free: 1-800-461-9521

Fax: (519) 663-2333

Ottawa

Sault Ste. Marie

99 Metcalfe St., Ste. 700 153 Great Northern Rd.

Ottawa, ON. K1P 1E8

Sault Ste. Marie, ON. P6B 4Y9

Tel: (613) 237-8840 Tel: (705) 942-3002

Toll-free: 1-800-267-9601 Toll-free: 1-800-461-6005

Fax: (613) 239-3321 Fax: (705) 942-7582

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