H&S committee member reinstated following safety violation (Legal view)

Goodyear worker fired for overriding safety device three months after company was fined
By Lorna Harris
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/15/2008

Call it the case of the worker who should have known better. Edward Cummings, a mixer operator at Goodyear in Bowmanville, Ont., was suspended and fired after he overrode a safety device on a milling machine. An arbitrator has ruled he should be reinstated.

Why should he have known better? Cummings was a member of the company’s joint health and safety committee. He was busted following an anonymous tip to management that he was bypassing the safety device — a tip that came in the same day Cummings had conducted a safety inspection of the factory.

Goodyear, which had recently been fined $60,000 for a violation of Ontario’s health and safety laws, felt termination was appropriate. It argued he had placed himself, and other employees, in jeopardy and exposed the company to further investigation and fines had an injury occurred.