Canadian Safety Reporter

October 2018

Focuses on occupational health and safety issues at a strategic level. Designed for employers, HR managers and OHS professionals, it features news, case studies on best practices and practical tips to ensure the safest possible working environment.

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CSR | October 2018 | News No guarantee nurse wouldn't encounter bleach somewhere WEBINARS Interested in learning more about safety and HR issues directly from the experts? Check out the Canada Professional Development Centre's live and on-demand webinars discussing topics such as Ontario's sexual violence and harassment plan act, chemicals in the workplace, and fall protection. Visit for more information. been used in the "appropriate amount of hours." • Annual training on the policy for housekeeping staff in the unit. However, the worker didn't accept the offer of employment under these conditions, as she felt the respirator mask inter- fered with her ability to work be- cause it made it difficult to speak to patients, staff, and families. Since she was sometimes called to other areas of the hospital to deal with cardiac arrests, it was impossible to avoid areas where bleach was used unless it was completely banned from the hospital, she said. The worker's employment was terminated on Dec. 15. The WSIB then ended her benefits on the basis that the hospital had of- fered her suitable employment to fit with her medical restrictions at no wage loss and she refused. The worker eventually found a new job at another hospital on Jan. 6, 2014, that used an al- ternative to bleach for cleaning. However, she continued to expe- rience respiratory issues which she believed were related to her initial exposure to bleach. The worker contested the WSIB's determination that she had refused suitable modified duties and requested loss of earnings benefits from Dec. 15, 2012, to the date of her new job on Jan. 6, 2014. The tribunal agreed with the worker that the return-to- work conditions would have meant the worker would have had to wear the respirator mask through the majority of her 12- hour shifts at the hospital, as it was never determined what "the appropriate amount of hours" after bleach was used was for the worker to remove the mask. This wasn't practical when she had to talk to patients, their families, and hospital staff over the course of the worker's shift. In addition, the fact she would have to wear the mask meant there was no guarantee there would not be ac- cidental or unscheduled use of bleach somewhere in the hospi- tal, said the tribunal. The tribunal noted that the re- port from the occupational dis- ease specialty program and the worker's doctor recommended that the only way to guarantee no exposure was for the hospi- tal to use alternatives to bleach. The hospital opted not to go this route. In addition, when the worker found new employment at an- other hospital, she was able to perform similar duties to what she had been performing before with the accommodation of us- ing an alternative to bleach for cleaning in the workplace. The tribunal determined that the modified duties offered to the worker were unsuitable, so the worker's loss of earnings from her Dec. 15, 2012, termi- nation from her original em- ployer to the start of her new job on Jan. 6, 2014, were "re- lated to the accident employer's inability to provide her with suitably modified duties." As a result, the worker's appeal was allowed and she was entitled to loss of earnings benefits for the 13-month period when she didn't work. For more information see: • Decision No. 3442/17, 2017 CarswellOnt 19879 (Ont. Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Trib.). Mask requirement < pg. 5 ©2018 Thomson Reuters Canada Ltd ISBN/ISSN: 978-0-7798-2810-4 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher (Thomson Reuters, Media Solutions, Canada). Canadian Safety Reporter is part of the Canadian HR Reporter group of publications: • Canadian HR Reporter — • Canadian Occupational Safety magazine — • Canadian Payroll Reporter — • Canadian Employment Law Today — • Canadian Labour Reporter — See for information Safety Reporter Canadian Published 12 times a year by Thomson Reuters Canada Ltd. Subscription rate: $139 per year Customer Service Tel: (416) 609-3800 (Toronto) (800) 387-5164 (outside Toronto) Fax: (416) 298-5106 E-mail: Website: One Corporate Plaza 2075 Kennedy Road Toronto, Ontario, Canada M1T 3V4 Director, Media Solutions, Canada Karen Lorimer Publisher/Managing Editor Todd Humber Lead Editor Jeffrey R. Smith Marketing & Audience Development Manager Robert Symes (416) 649-9551 Circulation Co-ordinator Keith Fulford (416) 649-9585 Sales Manager Paul Burton (416) 649-9928 Worker believed ongoing respiratory issues were related to her initial exposure to bleach

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