Courts take companies to task for poor safety record - By Eric Beauchesne, Canwest News Service
OTTAWA - Canada's worsening workplace-safety record is putting more than workers at risk, as the courts are cracking down on companies and supervisors deemed not to have done enough to protect their workers and others, legal and safety officials say.
Prosecutors are seeking, and judges are imposing, higher fines against companies and supervisors, says Toronto lawyer Peter Brady, a partner at McCarthy Tetrault, who deals with occupational health and safety issues.
''What five years ago would have been a fine of $30,000 or $40,000 is now upward of $100,000,'' Brady says. ''That kind of multiplier is being applied across the board.
''Companies have to have their due-diligence ducks in a row,'' he says.
Brady's warning follows a recent report that on average nearly five Canadians died every single working day last year because of a work-related accident or illness.