Legal duties of the front line

Five steps supervisors can take to protect themselves, employees
By Rob Stewart
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 03/08/2007

On Nov. 7, 2002, Peter Hammett was working as a contract foreman in Ponoka, Alta., where he was supervising a stucco crew. The crew was removing and installing new siding on a two-and-a-half storey apartment building.

The crew was using a scissor lift as a work platform to reach higher parts of the building. A few crew members noticed two overhead power lines near the north end of the building and warned Hammett of the hazard. Taking note of this hazard, Hammett nonetheless decided to continue using the lift.

Later in the day, while removing wooden siding from the building, the lift made contact with the power line, killing one of Hammett’s crew members. Hammett was charged with failing to take reasonable care to protect the health and safety of workers under his supervision. He pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 plus a $1,500 victim fine surcharge.