Investigations of Motor Vehicle Accidents on Public Roads - IPG-066

Effective Date: January 2009

1. Subject

To provide guidance to Managers and Health and Safety Officers (HSOs) on the investigation of motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) on public roads.

This IPG applies only to investigations of hazardous occurrences involving vehicles traveling on public roads, that result in fatalities or injuries to employees. Investigation pursuant to this IPG may be conducted by one HSO.

All other hazardous occurrence investigations, including those involving vehicles that are either stationary (i.e. during loading) or traveling on private property, shall be conducted in accordance with either OPD 935-1 Hazardous Occurrence Investigations and Reporting, or 935-1-IPG-067 Investigations of Non-work Related Fatalities.

LCA Note: The appropriate assignment type for investigations conducted in accordance with this IPG is: Investigation - Hazardous Occurrence - Motor Vehicle Accident.

2. Issue

Two changes to the Canada Labour Code Part II in 2000 relate directly to work place deaths and MVAs on public roads.

Subsection 141.(4) requires HSOs to investigate every death of an employee that occurs in a work place or while the employee was working, and subsection 141.(5) requires HSOs to obtain a copy of any police report related to a work place death resulting from a MVA on a public road.

However investigating MVAs on public roads presents unique challenges. Paragraph 127.(2)(b) allows these accident scenes to be disturbed without the authorization of a HSO. As a result, despite the employer's duty under section 15.5 of the COHS Regulations to notify a HSO as soon as possible but within 24 hours of becoming aware of the death or serious injury an employee, by the time notification is received, the accident scene often has been disturbed to the point that it may not be worthwhile for the HSO to attend.

In addition, except for subsection 14.4(4) of the COHS regulations relating to vehicle bulkheads, there are no specific regulations governing the operation of motor vehicles on public roads.

Given all the above, it is necessary to establish the extent and depth of hazardous occurrence investigations required to be conducted by HSOs for public road MVAs.

3. Questions

  1. Which public road MVAs should be investigated by HSOs?
  2. Which region would investigate an MVA that occurs in a region where the employer has no sites, or in the United States?
  3. Would we investigate a MVA involving a foreign (American) employer in Canada, with no work sites in Canada?
  4. What information should be gathered in the course of the investigation?
  5. What is the format of the investigation report the HSO is required to produce?

4. Conclusions

  1. Which public road MVAs should be investigated by HSOs?

    A public road MVA is a work place accident if it occurs in the course of employment. Therefore in accordance with 141.(4) all fatal MVAs that occur while an employee was working shall be investigated by a HSO.

    For other public road MVAs having a result identified in COHS Regulation 15.5 (other than the death of an employee), an investigation is initiated in accordance with OPD 700-3 Priorities For Interventions - Group A .

  2. Which region would investigate a MVA that occurs in a region where the employer has no sites, or in the United States?

    MVAs are to be investigated by the Labour Program region where they occur, even if the employer does not have a site in that region. In these cases the investigating HSO may contact the employer directly to obtain the necessary information, and may also seek assistance from the region where the employer's work place is located. The hard copy assignment file would remain in the region that did the investigation. MVAs that occur in the United States are to be investigated by the region where the employee reported for work in Canada.

  3. Would we investigate a MVA involving a foreign (American) employer in Canada, with no work sites in Canada?

    No. We would not have jurisdiction to investigate these MVAs although we may be asked by US-OSHA to assist in their investigation.

  4. What information should be gathered in the course of the investigation?

    Perhaps the most helpful piece of information will be the attending police authorities' reports, where available. Typically, these reports will provide information regarding weather and road conditions, condition of the vehicle, witnesses and even the circumstances around the accident. HSOs should contact the local police and other authorities ASAP to determine if they are investigating the MVA, and to request a copy of their final report. If there is a cost associated with obtaining these reports, the HSO must obtain approval from the Manager before obtaining the report.

    If the MVA results in an employee fatality, the HSO is obligated by subsection 141.(5) of the Code to obtain a copy of any police report, as soon as possible. In addition the Medical Examiner/Coroner's reports regarding the cause of death and toxicology should be requested in writing as soon as possible using the template letter in Appendix C . However, Medical Examiners/Coroners are not required to provide HSOs with copies of their reports and may refuse to do so.

    If the HSO obtains Coroner or Police reports containing evidence of alcohol, prescription drug, or illicit drug use, the HSO must treat this information in accordance with OPD 900-2 Substance abuse intervention.

    Vehicle maintenance records, employee training records, driver's license, bills of laden, and the employer's hazardous occurrence investigation report are sources of information that should be considered, and obtained from the employer. If the driver's log book has been taken by another investigating agency, the HSO should attempt to obtain a copy. Log book hours can be compared against the allowable hours under the National Safety Code (NSC), and possibly used to substantiate a violation of section 124, but we cannot enforce the NSC.

  5. What is the format of the investigation report the HSO is required to produce?

    Following the investigation, the HSO shall prepare a report containing the information in Appendix A , where that information is available. Within 10 days of completing the report, the HSO shall provide a copy of the report to the employer, and work place health and safety committee or representative, in accordance with subsection 141.(6) of the Code, along with a covering letter containing the information in Appendix B .

    The HSO may include a sketch of the accident scene if it is helpful. However the report shall not include photographs, witness statements, police or Medical Examiner/Coroner reports, or any other documents obtained from a third party.

Fulvio Fracassi
Director General
Program Development and Guidance Directorate
HRSDC-Labour Program


Appendix A: Hazardous Occurrence Investigation Report

**Where input is necessary**

Canadian flag with text Government of Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada - Labour Program
Address of the District Office

Hazardous Occurrence Investigation Report
Under Subsection 141.(6) of the Canada Labour Code, Part II

Related to the **Fatality or Injury** of **Name of Employee**

Following a Motor Vehicle Accident

on **Date of Occurrence**

Employed by: **Name and address of Employer**

Prepared by:**Name of investigating Office** Health and Safety Officer

Assignment Number: **Number**

Date of Report: **Date**

Table of Contents

1.0 General Information
1.1 Summary of the hazardous occurrence
1.2 Date and time Labour Program was notified
1.3 Identification of the Officer assigned to the file
1.4 Identification of other interveners

2.0 Information on the Work Place
2.1 Description of the company, its employees and its activities
2.2 Health and safety contacts

3.0 The Accident: Facts and Analysis
3.1 Description of the normal activity involved
3.2 Sequence of events
3.3 Findings and information gathered
3.3.1 Information about the victim
3.3.2 Information about the equipment involved
3.3.3 Information about the position of the vehicle(s) involved
3.3.4 Other information and findings
3.4 Analysis of the causal factors

4.0 Conclusion and Corrective Measures
4.1 Conclusion
4.2 Directions issued or AVC's received
4.3 Recommendations


1.0 General Information

1.1 Summary of the hazardous occurrence
(Date, time, location, description of the hazardous occurrence)

1.2 Date and time Labour Program was notified
(include how notification was received and the person, who received it)

1.3 Identification of the Officer assigned to the file

1.4 Identification of other interveners
(Medical Examiner/Coroner, police, witnesses, concerned third parties)

2.0 Information on the Work Place

2.1 Description of the company, its employees and its activities
(Address, number of employees, its specialty, etc.)

2.2 Health and safety contacts
(Local Work Place Health and Safety Committee Members/Representative)
(Company Safety Department personnel)

3.0 The Accident: Facts and Analysis

3.1 Description of the normal activity involved
(Description of the work: how it is normally carried out)

3.2 Sequence of events
(Describe the accident starting with relevant events occurring several hours or days before the accident)
(Describe the road, straight/curved, flat/hilly)
(Environmental conditions)
(Describe the damage and the employee's injuries)
(Describe any first aid treatment given and any emergency measures applied)

3.3 Findings and information gathered

3.3.1 Information about the victim
(Employee's years of experience; training provided to the employee and any other staff involved)
(Employer substance abuse policy, fatigue, number of hours worked by the employee at the time of the hazardous occurrence)
(Do not include any personal medical information.)

3.3.2 Information about the equipment involved
(Type of truck tractor, trailer, load, load restraint etc)
(Condition and inspection frequency of brakes, tires, etc.)

3.3.3 Information about the position of the vehicle(s) involved
(speed, mechanical failure, other vehicles, road condition)
(Include a sketch if helpful)

3.3.4 Other information and findings
(Reports from the Medical Examiner/Coroner and police)
(Witness observations)

3.4 Analysis of the causal factors
(Analyse the various causal factors using a different number for each factor)

3.4.1 Briefly describe Factor #1
(Explanation of Factor #1)

3.4.2 Briefly describe Factor #2
(Explanation of Factor #2)

4.0 Conclusion and Corrective Measures

4.1 Conclusion
(Actions the employer has taken to prevent a re-occurrence)

4.2 Directions issued or AVC's received

4.3 Recommendations

Signature

**Signature**
Health and Safety Officer
Identification Number: **Number**

Appendix B: Cover Letter for Hazardous Occurrence Investigation Report

**Where input is necessary**

**Date**

Assignment **No.**

**Name and address of Employer**

Dear **Mr./Mrs./Ms.**:

Re: Hazardous Occurrence Investigation Report
Work place **Fatality or Injury** of **Name of employee** on **date**

In accordance with subsection 141.(6) of the Canada Labour Code, Part II , please find enclosed a copy of the above report.

A copy of this report is also being sent to the Work Place Health and Safety **Committee or Representative** for your work place.

If you have any questions regarding this matter, do not hesitate to contact the undersigned.

Yours sincerely,

**Name**,
Health and Safety Officer **ID#**

HRSDC-Labour Program
**address**

**Telephone**, **Fax**

cc. Work Place Health and Safety **Committee or Representative**

Encl.

Appendix C: Letter to the Medical Examiner/Coroner

**Where input is necessary**

**Date**

Office of the **Medical Examiner/Coroner**
**Address**

Attention: ** Dr. / Mr. / Ms. / Designate on behalf of Medical Examiner/Coroner**

Subject: Request for Reports concerning the Cause of Death of **Name of Employee**.

I am a Health and Safety Officer with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada - Labour Program. I am investigating the work place fatality of **Name of Employee** who died on **Date**, in the employ of **Name of Employer**. This investigation is being conducted in accordance with subsection 141.(4) of the Canada Labour Code, Part II , which applies to federally regulated employers.

141.(4) A health and safety officer shall investigate every death of an employee that occurred in the work place or while the employee was working, or that was the result of an injury that occurred in the work place or while the employee was working.

As lead investigator, in this matter, I respectfully request copies of all reports concerning the cause of death of **Name of Employee**, including any autopsy and toxicology reports.

Please forward copies of these reports to my attention at the address below. Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter. Should you have any questions, please contact me directly.

**Name of HSO**
Health and Safety Officer **ID#**

HRSDC-Labour Program
**address**

**Telephone**, **Fax**

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