The District Court has found that an employer failed to take all reasonable health and safety steps to protect its employees after three employees suffered serious injuries in the workplace.  

During routine training, three employees were doused in fuel and accidentally set on fire. Even though the risk of catching on fire was high, the employer failed to provide protective flame retardant equipment. Two of the employees suffered severe burns which required surgery, and all three workers continue to experience psychological trauma.

An employer must ensure the health and safety of its workers as far as reasonably practicable when conducting a business, whether for profit or not.

In this case, the employer’s key failures were that available protective gear was not used, participants were not provided with appropriate training, an important safety protocol was not followed, and there was a clear lack of control over the work site.

If these health and safety standards had been met, the training could have been conducted safely and the workers would have avoided injury.

The employer was fined $354,750 and ordered to pay $100,000 in reparations to the injured employees.

If there is confusion around the required health and safety protocols in a workplace, it pays to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area.


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Alan Knowsley and Hunter Flanagan-Connors