Safety & HCM Post

Using Cellphone While Sitting on Stopped Forklift = Unsafe Operation Violation

A warehouse worker (and JHSC member) initiated a work refusal contending that 2 of his co-workers were using their cellphones while operating a forklift. Internal investigation failed to resolve the problem and the MOL was called in. Result: The inspector cited each worker for an OHS offence—dangerous operation of equipment. The workers didn’t deny having their cellphones on them but contended that they used them only when bringing the forklifts to a full stop and thus weren’t actually “operating” the equipment even though they were in the operator’s seat. But the court didn’t buy it. THe OHS Act should be read broadly. Using a cellphone while a forklift is stopped is no more defensible than a driver’s using a cellphone at a red light. Moreover, simply havingthe cellphones in their possession was a violation of the warehouse’s clear no cellphones at work policy. And since neither driver could make out a due diligence defence, each was guilty as charged [Ontario (Ministry of Labour) v. Nault, 2018 ONCJ 321 (CanLII), May 11, 2018].

Bongarde Editorial

Bongarde Editorial

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