Danny Maron, owner/trainer of Ideal Forklift Training in Canada's national capital, is an independent consultant, providing the education lift truck operators require, to businesses and government, to minimise the chance of incidents in the workplace. Before founding Ideal in 2000, Danny was a trainer at Canada's largest forklift dealer.
There was a time, not so long ago, when our provincial Ministry would fine one entity for any infractions to the Labour Code. Whether it be the company, supervisor or the operator, the government would generally find one party to blame for the incident, and fine them accordingly.
A few years back, our premier decided that safety in the workplace is everybody's business, and that everybody should be accountable for any mishaps that occur in the workplace. So now, the company, the supervisor and the operator are all liable for any incident that takes place, and the government can cash in greatly for an individual's mishap, whether it be a long-term injury or even a death.
I agree with the philosophy, but wonder about the intention: Was this about safety or a cash grab? Since way back when, the fines for business were up to CAD500,000 per count leading up to the incident - a hefty sum of money.
We cruised at those rates for many years, until just recently (December, 2017), when the government chose to increase the fines for corporations to CAD1.5 million. Supervisors' and individuals' fines rose from CAD25,000 to CAD100,000. This means that individuals could be on the hook to the government for the rest of their lives.
It would make sense to me if the money was being put towards good use. But it seems the funds will be used as an election sweetener, to subsidise daycare, college and university tuition and free prescription drugs to all kids under the age of 25.
Some 22-year-old earning CAD20 an hour hits another individual with the forklift, and he has to fork out CAD100,000. Why stick it to the workers of Ontario to pay for generous benefits when you could use the excess money to hire more labour officers that could be more proactive, and less reactive. Save lives prior to allowing people to die and government to reap the rewards.
This is chilling, especially by a government which does not accredit or issue guidelines for forklift safety training. A free-fall it is; spiraling out of control, just to earn votes during the next election. There are far more superior ways to reduce workplace incidents!