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On June 7, 2021, the Government of Ontario filed amendments to several Regulations made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”). The majority of the amendments relate to the reporting of workplace accidents.

Employers in Ontario should review their current incident reporting policies and procedures regarding critical injury or fatalities in the workplace to determine what, if any, changes need to be made to current practices, policies and procedures. To ensure compliance, employers should update existing policies and take steps to implement any necessary changes without delay.

Consolidation of Notice of Death and Critical Injury Requirements

The amendments to the Regulations under OHSA relate to the reporting of workplace accidents and consolidate the notice of death or critical injury requirements that are found in several Regulations into a single Regulation – O. Reg. 420/21: Notices and Reports Under Sections 51 to 53.1 of the Act – Fatalities, Critical Injuries, Occupational Illnesses and Other Incidents.

In particular, the section 51 – 53 notice and/or reporting requirements under OHSA, as may be applicable, have been revoked in the following regulations:

O. Reg. 420/21: Key Highlights

O. Reg. 420/21 applies to all workplaces that are covered by OHSA, with the exception of where a worker is killed, critically injured, disabled from performing their usual work or requires medical attention as a result of collisions on highways as defined under the Highway Traffic Act or Highway 407 Act.

Other key changes include:

  • Defines Critically Injured: Reg. 420/21 revokes Reg. 834: Critical Injury – Defined and replaces the definition of critically injured. “Critically injured” is defined as an injury of a serious nature, that a) places life in jeopardy; b) produces unconsciousness; c) results in a substantial loss of blood; d) involves the fracture of a leg or arm but not a finger or toe; e) involves the amputation of a leg, arm, hand or foot but not a finger or toe; f) consists of burns to a major portion of the body; or g) causes the loss of sight in an eye.
  • Retention of Copy or Written Notice: Section 6 of O. Reg. 420/21 provides that the employer or constructor shall retain a copy of a written notice or report required under sections 51 to 53.1 of OHSA for at least three years after the date the notice or report is made and notices may be sent electronically.
  • Written Reports or Notice: It also prescribes the information that an employer must provide in a written report or written notice of a workplace accident under sections 51 to 53 of OHSA. The Regulation also prescribes additional notice requirements for mines and construction sites.

Changes Applicable to Industrial Establishments

O. Reg. 421/21: Industrial Establishments amends Reg. 851: Industrial Establishments to add a new record-keeping requirement to workplaces that use lifting devices. Where a record is required to be kept, it shall be kept for a) a period of at least one year; or b) such period as is necessary to ensure that at least the two most recent records are kept.

O. Reg. 434/21: Industrial Establishments amends Reg. 851: Industrial Establishments to revoke and replace the pre-start health and safety review provisions.

Key Takeaways

The amendments come into force on July 1, 2021, except for O. Reg. 434/21: Industrial Establishments,  which comes into force on January 1, 2022.

Employers are required to inform the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development if a workplace hazard caused anybody to be killed or critically injured at the workplace. Generally, the notice and reporting requirements will depend on the type of workplace. It is important that employers review the requirements under O. Reg. 420/21 to determine what information must be included when reporting an injury or death at the workplace to the Ministry. It is also crucial to assess critical injuries or deaths at the workplace to determine if the hazard that caused an incident could pose an ongoing risk to worker health and safety.