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November 16, 2009 Vol. 32, No. 46 Ontario extends coverage for firefighters Firefighters in Ontario are applauding the province’s The change is retroactive to 1960, allowing past decision to extend presumptive workers’ compensa- volunteers, part-timers and investigators to apply for tion coverage to volunteer and part-time firefighters, benefits. Ontario has about 19,000 volunteer firefight- as well as to fire investigators with the province’s ers, 11,000 full-timers, 220 part-timers and 46 active fire Office of the Fire Marshal. marshal investigators, the ministry indicates. “This is one of those times where you’re actually Richard Boyes, president of the Ontario Associa- waiting for Santa Claus to come down the chimney,” tion of Fire Chiefs (OAFC), says the OAFC is pleased says Carl Pearson, first vice-president of the Fire with the changes for non-full-time workers. “The ex- Fighters Association of Ontario, whose membership tension recognizes the dangers these fire personnel includes volunteers. The Ministry of Labour’s No- face in assisting and protecting Ontarians,” notes vember 5 announcement signalled “a great day for all Boyes, whose association has also been lobbying the firefighters in Ontario,” Pearson adds. government for extension. Presumptive coverage for certain cancers and heart “It was the right thing to do,” Boyes says. “We injury, which has been in place for full-time certainly had to address that inequity that was being Eight types firefighters since May of 2007, makes it easier for developed within the fire service,” he adds, noting that workers who suffer fire-related illness to qualify volunteer services were beginning to find it more of cancer for benefits under the Workplace Safety and difficult to get commitments from personnel. covered Insurance Act. Under the legislation, eight types under of cancer — as well as heart injuries suffered Extension of coverage to benefit all firefighters legislation within 24 hours of fighting a fire or completing a The change will stand to benefit both full-timers and training exercise — are presumed to be work- volunteers, Pearson says, pointing out that full-time related, unless proven otherwise, the ministry notes in firefighters who previously worked voluntarily or part- a press release. time will be able to include that time towards their total When the government implemented the policy for years of service. full-time firefighters, it pledged to consult stakeholders Skeaff, citing cost estimates from the Workplace to determine if eligibility criteria for volunteers, part- Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB), says the extension timers and investigators would need to be altered. For is expected to result in some WSIB premium increases. instance, brain cancer is presumed to be work-related For Schedule One municipalities (those that pay WSIB for full-timers with at least 10 years of service. premiums), the existing premium rate is expected to Ultimately, the province decided to leave the criteria increase by 27 per cent over time, a figure based on the untouched, says ministry spokesman Bruce Skeaff, assumption there will be 18 additional claims annually emphasizing that the province had always planned a and 71 retroactive claims. For Schedule Two munici- two-stage process to extend the presumptive cover- palities (those that bear the full costs of claims and age. don’t pay WSIB premiums), it is expected they will New this week. . . Ont — Worker fatally stabbed by colleague ... 2 Fed — Effective oversight crucial: TSB ...... 4 Fed — Asbestos takes heavy toll ................. 2 Editor’s Notebook ........................................ 5 Ont — Study probes employers’ attitudes ... 3 Man — Officer assaulted at football game .... 6 Man — Dispute sparks call to police ........... 4 Ont — Company failed to pay wages ........... 6 2 / Canadian Occupational Health & Safety News have to cover an additional eight claims annually and as physical assaults. The first-ever study measuring $23 million in retroactive claims, he says. criminal victimization on the job, released in February The following cancers (and years of service re- of 2007, found that nearly one-fifth of all incidents of quired for compensation) are included in the presump- violent victimization, including physical assault, sexual tive legislation: brain (after at least 10 years of service); assault and robbery, occurred in the victim’s workplace. bladder (after at least 15 years); kidney (20 years); Furthermore, the research found “a high proportion” colorectal (10 years, diagnosed prior to 61st birthday); of incidents against those working in accommodation non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (20 years); certain types of or food services, retail or wholesale trade, and educa- leukemia (15 years); ureter (15 years); and, esophageal tional services sectors. (25 years). Ross Arrowsmith, a Calgary-based senior corpo- rate security advisor for the Workers’ Compensation Board of Alberta with over 20 years of experience in Argument turns deadly at workplace security and investigations, notes that a number of precautions can be taken to help prevent or Ontario sushi restaurant reduce incidents of violence in the workplace, includ- A seemingly mild argument between two employees of ing: conducting thorough background checks on po- an Ontario restaurant has ended with a stabbing that tential employees, providing proper training, creating left one dead. an open-door policy and protocols for safety con- The incident unfolded at the New Generation Sushi cerns, and development of a “no-tolerance policy” on restaurant in downtown Toronto just after 11 pm on workplace violence. November 7, says Detective Sergeant Terry Browne of the Toronto Police Service’s homicide squad. Browne says the two co-workers became involved in a verbal Asbestos-related diseases dispute in the main section of the restaurant, which escalated as they made their way into the kitchen. take heavy toll, stats show “It was a minor dispute and it was work-related,” A majority of work-related deaths in Quebec this year Browne confirms, adding that the deceased worker have been caused by asbestos-related occupational was stabbed with a “sharp-edged item” and taken to diseases such as mesothelioma and asbestosis, new hospital, where he was pronounced dead. “It was a statistics released by the Confédération des syndicats very quick incident and it was very unfortunate,” he nationaux (CSN) indicate. says of the city’s 50th homicide of the year. Of the 104 work-related deaths between January Browne says that many details of the investigation and early August, 61 have been caused by asbestos- cannot be released as the matter remains before the related diseases. The CSN, which based the numbers courts. However, he says it doesn’t appear on data from Quebec’s Commission de la santé et de la No prior there were any prior conflicts between the co- sécurité du travail, released the statistics in mid-Octo- workers. “I’ve spoken to many, many people ber during its occupational health and safety week conflict who know them both and it appears at this time activities. between it was something that just began that evening For the same period in 2008, 58 of 127 deaths were workers, and quickly escalated.” asbestos-related. And in 2007, it was 64 of 131. The police say Browne estimates that between 20 and 40 latest national data from Statistics Canada also points people, including staff and customers, were in to a rising number of deaths from mesothelioma, a the restaurant at the time. The 27-year-old deceased cancer affecting the lining of the chest or abdominal employee and the co-worker acted as both waiters and cavity. There were 384 such deaths across Canada in chefs at the restaurant, Browne adds. 2005, up from 292 in 2000. The company could not be reached for comment, “It takes many years often for [mesothelioma] to but a message on its website says that “New Genera- show up,” notes Dr Murray Finkelstein, an assistant tion Sushi is closed until further notice.” professor at the University of Toronto’s public health Two days after the incident, a post-mortem exami- school and an occupational health researcher. The nation was conducted and determined the cause of average period of time between a worker’s first expo- death as a stab wound to the chest. Browne adds that sure to asbestos and death at the hands of mesothe- 25-year-old Xu Wang was arrested following the stab- lioma is about 45 years, Dr Finkelstein says, adding bing and charged with second-degree murder. The “there are some that are shorter, there are some that are Chinese consulate has also been advised, as both the longer.” victim and suspect are Chinese nationals. Ontario’s Workplace Safety& Insurance Board re- A recent study from Statistics Canada noted that of ports that it accepted 19 mesothelioma claims in 2000, more than 360,000 violent incidents in the 10 provinces which rose to 41 last year. in 2004, the majority — 71 per cent — were classified James Brophy, a researcher associated with the November 16, 2009 / 3 Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers, writes November 5, the survey featured data collected from in a 2007 paper he co-authored that the number of public, private, not-for-profit and for-profit organiza- Canadian worker deaths from asbestos exposure is tions. expected to peak between 2010 and 2020. He also The study — conducted in the summer by COMPAS points to research that estimates nearly 31 per cent of Inc on behalf of the Toronto branch of the Job Oppor- all Canadian work-related fatalities between 1993 and tunity Information Network (JOIN) — also found that 2005 were related to asbestos. 24 per cent of executives said concerns with higher Mesothelioma statistics are likely much more com- absentee rates discouraged them. The perceived ex- plete than data on asbestos-related lung cancer, Dr pense related to hiring an employee with a disability (21 Finkelstein suggests. “I would expect most [lung can- per cent) and increased effort to train employees (16 per cer] cases are not captured,” he says, noting that in cent) were the third and fourth most frequently men- instances where workers have a history of smoking tioned concerns. and asbestos exposure, the development of lung can- However, when presented with a variety of poten- cer is often attributed to smoking. tial positive reasons for hiring a person with a disabil- Canada generally does “a very poor job” of tracking ity, the following factors emerged as the most likely to work-related incidences of diseases caused by asbes- motivate employers: tos, argues Kathleen Ruff, a member of the Rideau — 53 per cent said the idea that employees with Study also Institute on International Affairs, an organization that a disability will “try harder” will motivate them to is critical of Canada’s continued export of chrysotile hire; looks at asbestos mined in Quebec. — the same amount of employers (53 per cent) positive thought that people with disabilities bring a reasons for Illnesses could have been prevented: advocate “fresh perspective” to the job and that would be hiring “The tragedy of [asbestos-related illness in Canada] is an excellent motivator; it could have been prevented if we had not denied the — 46 per cent felt that disabled employees are scientific evidence, if we had not allowed the asbestos “much more loyal” and, industry to use the same tactics as the tobacco indus- — 41 per cent agree with the idea that those living with try,” charges Ruff, a Smithers, British Columbia resi- a disability are “more reliable on the job.” dent and former director of the province’s Human Susan Howatt, chairperson of JOIN Toronto’s board Rights Commission. of governors, says that while many employers recog- But there have been some notable developments in nize the value that people with disabilities can provide the collection of data on asbestos-related illness. Former in a workplace, “outdated stigmas are still the number workers, a union and the provincial workers’ compen- one barrier to jobs in Toronto. People living with a sation board in Newfoundland and Labrador have disability represent the largest, untapped human re- come together to begin creating a registry of former sources pool in Canada and they deserve a chance.” miners at the Baie Verte Asbestos Mine who have developed asbestos-related diseases. Majority of executives unaware of regulation And nationally, CAREX Canada is planning a In fact, the study found only 22 per cent of business workplace exposure surveillance project to “develop executives said they were aware of the Accessibility for robust estimates of the number of Canadians exposed Ontarians with Disabilities Act, while 73 per cent were to workplace carcinogens, at what levels, and any unaware of it. The act outlines topics including acces- geographic variations that may affect these estimates,” sible employment practices, policies and training. the organization notes. Sharon Myatt, JOIN Toronto’s employer develop- ment consultant, says that oftentimes employers who want to move forward with accommodating workers Study probes issue of hiring with disabilities do not consider that disabilities are not just physical. “Over 50 per cent of disabilities are workers with disabilities hidden and episodic,” she says, noting estimates More than one-third of company executives are dis- suggest that less than five per cent of people are born couraged from hiring people with disabilities over with a disability. concerns about managing potential underperformance Establishing a work environment where all employ- issues, suggests a new survey. ees can achieve their potential is important, says Sylvia The study of 110 human resource executives from Chrominska, the group head of global human resources a cross-section of Ontario-based firms found that 36 and communications at Scotiabank. With regards to per cent of senior executives said they were discour- accommodation, Scotiabank uses a variety of tools aged from hiring a person with a disability because “it’s including: a centralized fund that supports job appli- harder to dismiss an underperforming person with a cants and employees with disabilities to ensure they disability than one without a disability.” Released on have tools required to do their jobs, such as assistive 4 / Canadian Occupational Health & Safety News technologies, interpreters and other services; flexible team went into very quick action, along with the work hours and arrangements to accommodate all assistance of the RCMP, and that came to a quick end.” employees; and, adaptive tools built into technology There have been several incidents recently around applications and websites to makes them accessible to the country involving violence in the workplace. Late workers with disabilities. last month, a 38-year-old claimant at the Workers’ Compensation Board of Alberta building in Edmonton sparked a 10-hour standoff with police after he stormed Police called after dispute in the building with a gun and took nine people hostage. The early-morning incident ended at 6:15 pm on Octo- Manitoba office building ber 21 when Patrick Clayton surrendered after releas- A confrontation between an employee and his super- ing the last of his hostages (COHSN October 26, visor culminated in a large police presence at the 2009). Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) building in down- town Winnipeg. On the morning of November 10, the employee was Effective oversight vital to in his office having a meeting with his supervisor, an MPI executive, when the argument began, says MPI aviation safety, TSB says spokesman Brian Smiley. Although he could not com- The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has ment on the details surrounding the incident — includ- highlighted ineffective oversight by the Canadian ing whether a weapon was involved — Smiley says Business Aviation Association (CBAA) as a contribu- “very early on, our security staff recognized that this tory factor in an aircraft crash that injured 10 people two employee was experiencing a health issue.” years ago. “They were observing the employee interact and In its report released on November 10, the TSB based on the training they’ve received, they realized notes that private operators regulated by the CBAA they needed to call the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) were not held to the same standard that Transport to ensure there would be a positive outcome on this,” Canada implemented for commercial operators. Spe- Smiley says. “They kept up very close monitoring cifically, Transport Canada regulations require com- which, in many ways, led to a very peaceful and mercial airline companies to implement safety manage- positive outcome.” ment systems (SMSs) in stages, on a fixed timeline, About 12 Smiley says that after the incident, there was “while the CBAA was free to implement SMSs for its a large “police presence” at the building which operators on its own terms with no fixed timeframe.” police included about 12 police officers and 10 vehi- officers cles. He adds that MPI sent an e-mail to the Regulatory responsibility transferred in 2003 responded to approximately 800 staff employed at the com- In 2003, Transport Canada transferred regulatory re- incident pany — a non-profit Crown corporation that sponsibility for some aviation operators to the CBAA, provides basic automobile insurance coverage but “prior to this accident failed to exercise effective to Manitobans — to inform them about what was oversight of the CBAA programs,” the statement transpiring at the building. adds. A WPS spokeswoman says that police have con- “This is a serious problem,” says TSB member cluded their investigation into the incident, and the Kathy Fox in the statement. “Safety can be compro- employee will not be facing any charges. mised when SMS plans are vague, deadlines are flex- Smiley says the building consists of nine floors; the ible and critical oversight is lacking.” top three floors are exclusive to the MPI, with several The investigation relates to an accident on Novem- other floors used as shared facilities. With regards to ber 11, 2007 in which a business jet carrying two crew security measures, he says, the company uses a pass- members and eight passengers touched down seven card system and employs both in-house and private feet short of the runway in Fox Harbour, Nova Scotia. contractor security staff, with typically about two staff The TSB report says that the main landing gear of the stationed per floor. Although there is “very stringent jet became damaged when it struck the edge of the procedures in place” for handling potential conflicts, runway, and “directional control was lost when the “there’s always a constant review of procedures,” right main landing gear collapsed.” The aircraft then Smiley adds. skidded off the runway, coming to a stop about 1,000 But this is not the first time a potentially dangerous feet from its initial touchdown point, close to neigh- situation occurred at the company’s building, Smiley bouring homes. says, using the example of an incident about two years The aircraft was operated by Hamilton, Ontario- ago in which an angry customer “staged a fake bomb” based Jetport Inc and the flight had departed from that outside an MPI claim centre in Portage la Prairie. “Our city. November 16, 2009 / 5 The report says that one crew member and one facturing engineering and operational excellence. passenger suffered serious injuries, with the other Cunningham most recently held the position of direc- eight occupants suffering minor injuries. The aircraft tor of design and manufacturing for Medrad Inc’s sustained major structural damage. cardiovascular disposable products. In two key recommendations, the TSB called for the Dr Casey Chosewood has joined the National Insti- CBAA to set SMS implementation milestones for its tute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) as certificate holders and for Transport Canada to ensure manager of the institute’s WorkLife Initiative program, the CBAA has an effective quality assurance program which aims to sustain and improve worker health in place to audit its certificate holders. through better work-based programs, policies, and “Although the Jetport SMS program had been practices. Dr Chosewood previously served as the accepted by the CBAA-accredited auditor, in reality, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Preven- Jetport did not have a functioning SMS,” the report tion’s office of safety and health. says. “The traditional, reactive safety management Canadian Helicopters Income Fund has appointed process that was in place did not identify many of the Don Wall as president and CEO. Wall has held various risks involved.” positions with Canadian Helicopters for over 20 years, including that of senior executive vice-president and Many pilots unaware of system limitations president of the company’ western division. The an- During the course of its investigation, the TSB also nouncement follows the retirement of Jean-Pierre Blais found that many pilot were not aware of the limitations as the president and trustee of Canadian Helicopters. of visual guidance systems used to conduct safe approaches and landings. Known as visual glide slope indicators (VGSI), these systems use ground-based light beams to show pilots when they are too high or News Summaries low on approach, “but many pilots don’t realize that VGSI should not be used when flying larger aircraft,” RCMP officer assaulted several times the report says. In addition, information on the dis- Hazelton, BC — An RCMP officer was assaulted tance between the cockpit and the landing gear (eye- several times following a traffic stop. At about 2:40 pm to-wheel height) is needed to know which VGSI to use, on October 24, the officer had finished arresting one but the TSB investigation “revealed this information is vehicle passenger for obstruction when the driver not readily available to pilots.” assaulted the officer, says an RCMP statement. The To address these issues, the TSB issued two further officer, who was investigating the possibility of the recommendations: Transport Canada ensure that eye- driver being intoxicated, fell to the ground following to-wheel height information is available to pilots of the assault at which time two other passengers aircraft exceeding 12,500 pounds; and, Transport left the vehicle and allegedly kicked the officer Canada require training on VGSI systems so pilots can several times and attempted to disarm him by Bystanders determine if the system in use is appropriate for their grabbing at this holstered sidearm, the statement able to aircraft. says. Luckily, bystanders were able to step in and protect protect the officer from further attack while a officer from second police vehicle arrived. The second officer further attack Editor’s’Notebook was also assaulted, but sustained minor injuries and continues full duty, the statement says. The Names in the news… The BC Forest Safety Council RCMP has recommended the following charges against has appointed Chuck Carter as its director of trans- three of the people involved: impaired driving, assault- portation safety. Carter, who joins the council at its ing a peace officer, resisting arrest, attempting to Prince George location in December, will develop and disarm a peace officer and counselling the offence of lead forestry transportation safety initiatives that will disarming a peace officer, uttering death threats, es- involve close working relationships with government caping lawful custody, and assisting in an escape from and industry, with an emphasis on resource roads. lawful custody. Carter brings more than 25 years’ experience to the council, most recently as safety coordinator for Canfor’s Store clerk prevents robbery attempt woodland operations in BC and Alberta. Princeton, BC — A grocery store clerk stopped a Industrial Scientific Corporation has announced robbery attempt after unnerving the would-be thief. that Tom Cunningham has joined the company as The incident happened at about 8:15 pm on November vice-president of global operations. In this role, 6 when the man entered the Golden Hills Grocery & Deli Cunningham will have responsibility for operations carrying a black cloth grocery bag and demanded including manufacturing, supply chain, quality, manu- money from the cashier. “She calmly suggested he ask 6 / Canadian Occupational Health & Safety News police for some money as well, seeing that they had just Inquest to probe worker’s death pulled up to the store,” says a statement from the Toronto — Dr Bonita Porter, deputy chief coroner for Princeton RCMP. “Without looking over his shoulder inquests, has announced that an inquest will be held to verify this, the would-be thief turned on his heels into the death of a worker in 2006. Pierre Poulin, 38, died and left as quickly as he had come in.” Police arrived on May 12, 2006 from injuries he sustained at a con- minutes after a 9-1-1 call, but the suspect was not struction site in Hornepayne, says a statement from located. The RCMP is reminding commercial retail Ontario’s Ministry of Community Safety and Correc- establishments to take the following security tips to tional Services. The inquest will be held on November help aid in the investigation of robberies: post a height 26 and is expected to last two days, the statement says. strip on the entrance door to assist with description The inquest will examine the circumstances surround- details; install video recording equipment to record ing Poulin’s death and the jury may make recommen- interior and exterior locations; ensure cameras are dations aimed at preventing similar fatalities. positioned at an angle to capture facial and head-to-toe images; educate staff to not exacerbate the situation by being uncooperative. Company fined for not paying wages Hamilton, Ont — Greenrock Outdoor Landscaping & Contractors Inc of Flamborough, Ontario was fined Officer attacked at football game nearly $5,000 on October 28 for failing to comply with Winnipeg — A 24-year-old man has been charged with two orders to pay wages owed to employees. Greenrock assaulting a peace officer after a member of the Win- was fined a total of $4,763.99 on two counts of failing nipeg Police Service (WPS) who was working at a to pay wages issued by an employment standards football game was attacked. The incident occurred at officer, says a Ministry of Labour (MoL) press release. about 2:20 pm on November 8 as the police officer was The MoL says that it investigated claims for wages attempting to escort an intoxicated man from his seat owing to two employees — issued on February 23, at the Winnipeg Blue Bombers game, says a WPS 2007 and June 20, 2007. By March 19 of this year, the statement. Another man seated next to the intoxicated orders were still outstanding, but have now been paid, man attempted to prevent the individual from being led the press release says. away, prompting a second officer to intervene. As police were walking out of the area with the man, a third man “struck one of the officers several times in the back Check out CSA standards online of the head,” the statement says, adding that beer was Saint John — WorkSafeNB is encouraging workplaces also thrown on the officers. Willam McGimpsey was to use standards from the Canadian Standards Asso- charged with assaulting a peace officer and detained ciation (CSA), which are available to view before at the Winnipeg Remand Centre. purchase. A WorkSafeNB statement points to a CSA pilot program which was launched on October 1, 2008 Two convenience store clerks injured to provide users with broader and easier access to Winnipeg — Two store clerks have been injured occupational health and safety standards. Now in its following an attack at a convenience store in Winni- second year, the pilot program provides access to CSA peg. At about 7:10 pm on November 5, two men entered standards referenced in oh&s legislation across the the store and confronted the clerk before going behind country. The WorkSafeNB statement notes that the the counter and filling a bag with assorted cigarettes, standards are in read-only PDF format, and users will says a statement from the Winnipeg Police Service. A not be able to cut, paste, print or download them, second employee was alerted to the incident at which adding that the province references about 40 CSA time he was physically assaulted and pepper sprayed standards in its oh&s legislation. To access the stand- to the upper body. The two men escaped with a large ards or for further information, visit http://ohsviewacc quantity of cigarettes, the statement says. ess.csa.ca. Editor: Jason Contant; Editorial Assistant: Dan Birch– Publisher: Peter Boxer Canadian Occupational Health & Safety News is published 50 times a year by Business Information Group, 12 Concorde Place, Suite 800, Toronto, ON M3C 4J2. Business Information Group is a division of B.I.G. Magazines L.P., a leading Canadian information company with interests in daily and community newspapers and business-to-business information services. Canada Post Canadian Publications Mail Sales Product Agreement 162124. International Standard Serial #0709 6252. Publication Registration #09704. Publication Agreement #162108. Subscription rates: New — $399 plus $22.50 shipping/handling and applicable taxes; 20-week trial — $197 plus $17.50 shipping/handling and applicable taxes. For information, contact Customer Service at 416-442-2122; toll-free 1-800-668-2374. Reproduction, in whole or in part, without the written consent of the publisher is prohibited and represents a willful violation of copyright laws.
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