Did safety transgression justify firing?

This instalment of You Make the Call takes a look at an arbitration case where a worker was fired for not following safety procedures
|Canadian Employment Law Today

The worker was a quality technician at Invista Canada in Kingston, Ont., a company that manufacturers nylon products. He had been on the job for more than 16 years. Near the end of his shift on June 7, 2006, he noticed one of the wrapped cartons of nylon had fallen off a travel car. As a result, the carton was in the path of the travel car and the car could not then perform its function.

The worker decided he would move the 200-pound carton out of the way. In order to cross into that work area, he was required by safety rules to perform a lockout procedure to ensure the machinery wouldn’t start running when he was in the area.

Ray Young, a method quality expert at Invista, noticed the worker had crossed into the area to move the carton, and also noticed that the proper lockout procedure hadn’t been followed. Young spoke to the worker and asked him if he had locked out the machinery. The worker said the travel car had been put into manual mode, so it wouldn’t move.