Responsibilities of City of Toronto staff for investigating and reporting workplace injuries are defined in the policy Investigation and Reporting of Work-Related Injuries and Incidents. The Occupational Health and Safety Act establishes additional requirements where a person (employee or member of the public) is killed or critically injured at a workplace. This policy outlines these requirements and assigns responsibilities to ensure that they are dealt with in the manner prescribed. The policy applies to all City of Toronto employees.
As per Ontario Regulation 420/21, “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 major portion of the body; or
(g) causes the loss of sight in an eye.
In order to achieve the requirements of investigating and reporting a critical injury or fatality, as defined by the Occupational Health and Safety Act,
[Note: A Ministry inspector has the authority to release the scene of a critical injury or fatality over the phone. This request should be made prior to the disturbance of any critical injury/fatality scene. When it is necessary, for the reasons outlined above, to disturb the scene, details of the original scene must be recorded as soon as possible].
Each division of the City of Toronto will use this policy to implement and maintain critical injury/fatality investigation and reporting procedures. The attached Q&A document is intended to assist in development, implementation and review of these procedures. All critical injuries and fatalities must be investigated to establish what occurred, what the causes were, and what corrective actions should be implemented to prevent recurrence. There are specific reporting requirements for critical injuries above those required for incident investigation. However, incident investigation techniques are the same. For information about responsibilities with respect to non-critical injuries, see the Investigation and Reporting of Work-Related Injuries and Incidents policy.
This Q&A document has been compiled to provide additional interpretation on what constitutes a Critical Injury and to assist development of divisional procedures.
The MLTSD needs to be notified of an injury to a person meeting the criteria contained in the Critical Injury definition, where all three of the following requirements are met:
Reference: Blue Mountain Resorts Limited v. Ontario (Labour), 2013 ONCA 75 (CanLII).
The employer obligation under section 51 of the OHSA requires a verbal notification to the MLTSD when a person (other than worker) is critically injured or killed at a workplace. The prescribed written reporting requirements set out in section 3 of O. Reg. 420/21 only apply with respect to a worker.
When calls are placed to the MLTSD Critical Injury Reporting Line for fractures of a wrist or ankle, there is sometimes inconsistency on whether or not the Ministry respondent will confirm the injury as critical. The City has in the past requested clarification from the Ministry on this matter and has received written confirmation from the Director level that a fracture of an ankle or wrist is to be reported as a critical injury.
As per the Ministry’s Clarification on the definition of “Critical Injury” (January 2017), while the fracture or amputation of a single finger or single toe does not constitute a critical injury, the fracture or 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.
Critical injuries that occur while a worker is on break should be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the supervisor of the injured worker. Two examples for consideration follow.
Example 1: A worker is travelling from Office A to Office B as part of their work. During the travel, the worker stops at a coffee shop for a coffee, slips and falls and sustains a leg fracture. This should be reported to the MLTSD because the injury occurred while the employee was in the course of work travelling from one City work location to another.
Example 2: During the work day, a worker leaves the workplace and goes to a coffee shop for a coffee break, slips and falls and sustains a leg fracture. This would not be considered as an injury that must be reported by the City to the MLTSD, as a critical injury. The injury did not occur in a City workplace nor did it occur to a City employee in the employee’s course of work. It may well be an injury that must be reported to the MLTSD by the coffee shop owner as a critical injury.
When a supervisor is in doubt as to whether or not an injury should be reported to the Ministry as a critical injury, it is recommended to report the injury and allow the Ministry to make the decision as to whether or not it is a critical injury.
It is difficult to precisely define what is meant by a substantial loss of blood. However, case law indicates that if an injury is of a serious nature and it is determined that 911 should be called, as the contents of a standard first aid kit may not be adequate to stop the bleeding, then the loss of blood should be considered substantial.
Reference: R. v. Rotobale Compaction Systems Inc, 2007 ONCJ 730 (CanLII).
Consider the following examples for clarification:
Example 1: A filing cabinet tips over directly adjacent to where a worker is standing, but no injury is sustained. This is considered a near miss. Even though there was the potential for serious injury, this does not need to be reported to the MLTSD as a critical injury.
Example 2: A filing cabinet tips over and strikes an employee. There is no blood loss, unconsciousness or apparent fractures. However, the employee is acting dazed and confused. 911 is called as there is concern that there may be internal bleeding. This should be reported to the Ministry as a critical injury.
When considering critical injuries, always consider the injury that has been sustained (Ontario Regulation 420/21). For near misses that could have placed life in jeopardy, a serious internal investigation is required, but not reporting to the MLTSD as a critical injury.
Occupational Health and Safety Act (R.S.O. 1990, c. 0.1) and associated regulations
O. Reg. 420/21: Notices and Reports Under Sections 51 TO 53.1 of the Act – Fatalities, Critical Injuries, Occupational Illnesses and Other Incidents made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act
Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (S.O 1997, c.16)
Human Resources Directors (March 1999).
Reviewed and Revised by Occupational Health and Safety Coordinating Committee (OHSCC): June 29, 2010, February 8, 2017 and September 28, 2021.
September 2, 2010
September 28, 2021
Investigation and Reporting of Work-Related Injuries and Incidents
Supervisor’s Report of Injury/Incident
Report of Fatality or Critical Injury Form