New regulation streamlines reporting requirements for critical injury

Monday, June 14, 2021

Effective July 1, definition of critical injury incorporated into single regulation for all workplaces

Workers helping injured worker on a stretcherA new regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) will come into effect on July 1, 2021: Ontario Regulation 420 / 21 – Notices and Reports under Sections 51 to 53.1 of the Act – Fatalities, Critical Injuries, Occupational Illnesses and Other Incidents.

The new regulation incorporates the critical injury definition and streamlines reporting requirements into a single regulation that applies to all workplaces covered under the OHSA.

The amending regulations are:

What is a critical injury?

In January 2017, the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (Ministry) posted a clarification on the definition of Regulation 854 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Clause 1(d) of Regulation 834 stipulates that an injury of a serious nature is a “critical injury” if it involves the fracture of a leg or arm but not a finger or toe. The Ministry has clarified information regarding fractures of hands, feet, and more than one finger or toe, as follows.

Clarification on the definition of Regulation 834: Critical Injury

For the purposes of the Act and the Regulations, “critically injured” means an injury of a serious nature that,

(a) places life in jeopardy,
(b) produces unconsciousness,
(c) results in substantial loss of blood,
(d) involves the fracture of a leg or arm but not a finger or toe,
(e) involves the amputation of a leg, arm, hand or foot but not a finger or toe,
(f) consists of burns to a major portion of the body, or
(g) causes the loss of sight in an eye. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 834, s. 1.

Fracture of more than one finger or toe

The Ministry interprets clause 1(d) of Regulation 834 to include a fracture of a wrist, hand, ankle or foot – i.e. any such fracture would constitute a critical injury if it is of a serious nature. While the fracture of a single finger or single toe does not constitute a critical injury, the ministry takes the position that the fracture of more than one finger or more than one toe does constitute a critical injury if it is an injury of a serious nature.

Amputation of more than one finger or toe

Clause 1(e) of Regulation 834 stipulates that an injury of a serious nature is a “critical injury” if it involves the amputation of a leg, arm, hand or foot but not a finger or toe. While the amputation of a single finger or single toe does not constitute a critical injury, the ministry takes the position that the amputation of more than one finger or more than one toe does constitute a critical injury if it is an injury of a serious nature.

Reporting injuries and illnesses – duties of employers and others

A critical injury must be reported under section 51 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act if there is a connection between the hazard that gave rise to the injury and worker health and safety. 

The Ministry notice is intended to provide clarity around the application of clauses (d) and (e) of the critical injury definition. The legal definition of a critical injury set out in Regulation 834 has not changed.

Resources

Occupational health and safety inspections and investigations - MLTSD

A step-by-step guide: What to expect from a Ministry of Labour visit - WSN

Free workplace safety resources, includes posters, checklists, guidelines, more - WSN

COVID-19 workplace safety resources - WSN

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