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Requirement to Report an Incident on a Farming Operation

Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) applies with some limitations and exceptions, to all farming operations that have paid workers.

The Act requires employers to notify certain people whenever a workplace injury, illness, or fatality occurs. This document describes those requirements, as they apply to farming operations.

1) Where there is a Critical Injury or Death

If a person, whether a worker or not (this includes, for example, supervisors, employers, workers, unpaid family members, and visitors), has been critically injured (see definition below) or killed at the workplace, the employer must immediately notify an inspector at the nearest Ministry of Labour office, and the joint health and safety committee or health and safety representative (if any). This notice must be by telephone or other direct means.

A “critical injury” is an injury of a serious nature that,

  • places life in jeopardy,
  • produces unconsciousness,
  • results in substantial loss of blood
  • involves the fracture of a leg or arm but not a finger or toe,
  • involves the amputation of a leg, arm, hand or foot but not a finger or toe,
  • consists of burns to a major portion of the body, or
  • causes the loss of sight in an eye. [Regulation 834]

Within 48 hours, the employer must also notify, in writing, a Regional Director of the Ministry of Labour, giving the circumstances of the occurrence. [Section 51(1)]

Please contact the Ministry of Labour.

2) Where there is an Injury that is not a Critical Injury

If an accident, explosion or fire occurs and a worker is disabled or requires medical attention, the employer must notify the joint health and safety committee or health and safety representative (if any) in writing within four days of the incident. If required by an inspector, this written notice must also be given to a Regional Director of the Ministry of Labour. [Section 52(1)]

3) Where there is an Occupational Illness

If an employer is told that a worker has an occupational illness or that a claim for an occupational illness has been filed with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, the employer must notify a Regional Director of the Ministry of Labour, and the joint health and safety committee or health and safety representative (if any) within four days. The notice must be in writing. This duty to notify applies not only to current employees but also to former ones. [Section 52(3)]

An “occupational illness” is defined as a condition that results from exposure in a workplace to a physical, chemical or biological agent to the extent that the normal physiological mechanisms are affected and the health of the worker is impaired. It includes an occupational disease for which a worker is entitled to benefits under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.

Call the Ministry of Labour Health and Safety Contact Centre

  • Report incidents, critical injuries or fatalities
    If this is an emergency call 911 immediately.
  • Report possible unsafe work practices
  • General occupational health and safety inquiries
    Have you checked our online resources?

Ministry of Labour Health and Safety Contact Centre
1-877-202-0008

Other Ways to Contact the Ministry of Labour

For more information about health and safety related to farming operations, please contact:

Farm Safety Association Inc.
101 - 75 Farquhar Street
Guelph ON  N1H 3N4
519-823-5600
1-800-361-8855
Web: www.farmsafety.ca