Machinery is not dangerous in itself; being oblivious to danger is

Release date: March 3, 2015

An excavation machine and heavy equipment operator challenged his demotion. The employer denied him several assignments because he didn’t have the required aptitude or judgement to operate this type of machinery. It turned out that the employee had the required skill to manoeuvre heavy equipment, but did his work too fast. The employee was made aware several times of the hazards of his line of work, as confirmed by previous disciplinary measures, without success. The employer therefore had no alternative but to remove him from his position. According to the arbitrator, the solution was not to provide training for the employee, but to allow him to talk to a consultant in order to help him slow down and be aware of his environment when operating machinery. To order the employee’s return to work in his previously held position would run counter to health and safety rules, since it is not the machine itself that is dangerous, but the machine when it is operated by the employee. In this context, the grievance was rejected.

Syndicat des employés municipaux de Thetford Mines v. Thetford Mines (Town of) 2014 QCTA 915, DTE 2014T-862, Côme Poulin Esq., Arbitrator

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