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Health and safety Paper

It is clearly stated under the section 25 of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act that employers must give their employees well maintained protective materials in order to ensure the safety of their workers[1]. In the case given, the foreman did not provide their workers protective devices, especially Miriam Siddiq in cleaning the tiles that contained asbestos which is very harmful to the health of the workers.

The employer also violated section 26 of the Ontario Occupational Health and safety Act since he was not able to keep records regarding the handling and disposal chemical substances such as asbestos.

The employer did not provide Miriam with the MSDS Sheet since he did not store it in places that can be easily seen. In short, the employer fails to keep the records of boxes containing tiles with asbestos especially during the times where employees needed such records[2].

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Moreover, the foreman and the employer also did not disclose to Miriam Siddiq the harmful effects of inhaling asbestos.

Furthermore, when I was already the one being asked by the foreman to clean the tiles and dusts of asbestos, I requested for a member of the Health and Safety Committee to know if whether the amount of asbestos available in the tiles are safe enough. But to my surprise, the member did not know anything about the harmful effects of asbestos. In the first place the employer must be the one to advice Miriam and the rest of his employees regarding the existence of possible harmful effects of cleaning the dusts of broken tiles containing asbestos.

According to section 27 of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, it is the duty of the supervisor to know and inform their employees regarding the possible existence of harmful effects of responsibilities that they assign to their employees[3].

Section 38 of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act was also violated by our employer since the latter did not able to provide Miriam with a copy of MSDS Sheet.

According to section 38 of the said act, it is the duty of the employer to provide their employees with unexpired MSDS Sheet and ready accessible every time in the working area to give workers a chance of evaluating such chemicals[4]. If those asbestos in the boxes are not harmful, then, there is no reason for the employer not to provide Miriam with a copy of MSDS Sheet. I believe that the employer did not give Miriam a copy of MSDS Sheet to avoid the latter from discovering that those boxes are really hazardous to the health

After the refusal of Miriam to the said work being assigned to her by the foreman, the best thing that I should do is to request for another employee from other department to check whether the amount of asbestos in the boxes are harmful or not before reporting to the Ministry of Labor about the said violations of our employer on the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act and conduct the necessary investigation if really the our employer violation such act.

Moreover, if my co-employee from other department also discovered that indeed our employers violated Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, then, we have the right to ask the employer to stop the said work. If my co-employee did not agree with my claim that there involves hazardous effects on the boxes of tiles containing asbestos, this is now the time to ask for an inspector to handle the situation.

During the investigation, I can still do my responsibilities to the company but only within the perimeter of my working station until the said investigation is finished. There would be an inspector who would determine if whether our employer really violated the above sections of Ontario Occupation Health and Safety Act. Moreover, if the investigation is still pending for quire a long time, it is expected for me to remain into a safe place and the employer can only assigned me some substitute responsibilities only at the said moment of time.[5]

Despite my legal issue with the employer, I am still entitled to receive my regular salary. Based from the report of the inspector, if the “Board” discovered that mere stopping of the work will not go to be sufficient to fully protect the employees from the possible health effects of asbestos they could assign their inspector to supervise the health and safety issue of the employer’s workplace on full time or part time basis depending on the degree of urgency. Moreover, I have only 30 days to file the case to make it legal and formal[6].

[1] An employer shall ensure that the equipment, materials and protective devices as prescribed are provided by the employer and maintained in good condition; the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace; the equipment, materials and protective devices provided by the employer are used as prescribed; and a floor, roof, wall, pillar, support or other part of a workplace is capable of supporting all loads to which it may be subjected without causing the materials therein to be stressed beyond the allowable unit stresses established under the Building Code Act.

“Occupational Health and Safety Act,” e-laws.gov (2007) [electronic article]; available from http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90o01_e.htm#BK18, p. 23 of 71.

[2] In addition to the duties imposed by section 25, an employer shall establish an occupational health service for workers as prescribed; where an occupational health service is established as prescribed, maintain the same according to the standards prescribed; keep and maintain accurate records of the handling, storage, use and disposal of biological, chemical or physical agents as prescribed; accurately keep and maintain and make available to the worker affected such records of the exposure of a worker to biological, chemical or physical agents as may be prescribed. (ibid, 24).

[3]  A supervisor shall ensure that a worker works in the manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by this Act and the regulations; and uses or wears the equipment, protective devices or clothing that the worker’s employer requires to be used or worn.(ibid, 25).

[4] A copy of every unexpired material safety data sheet required by this Part in respect of hazardous materials in a workplace shall be made available by the employer in the workplace in such a manner as to allow examination by the workers.(ibid, 35).

[5] An investigator shall investigate the refusal to work in consultation with the employer or a person representing the employer, the worker, and if there is such, the person mentioned in clause. (ibid, 42).

[6] If the Board finds that the procedure for stopping work set out in section 45 will not be sufficient to protect the constructor’s or employer’s workers at the workplace from serious risk to their health or safety the board may recommend to the Minister that an inspector be assigned to oversee the health and safety practices of the constructor or employer at the workplace on a full-time or part-time basis for a specified period. (ibid, 46).

 

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