Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 63 21
20/01/2021
B. Kalvin
  • Class of employer (ancillary operation)

In this classification appeal, the employer was a large construction company carrying on a variety of business enterprises, two of which are road construction and operating a quarry. The road construction enterprise involved building and repairing roads. The quarry operation entailed selling and delivering stone products. The employer has a large number of vehicles and pieces of equipment which it uses to carry on its various enterprises.

A worker of this employer was injured while using a power drill. The drill bit jammed causing the drill to twist around while the worker's thumb was caught in the handle. The worker sustained fractures and pulled ligaments in his thumb.
For the purposes of this accident claim the employer was classified in Rate Group 711. In this appeal the employer does not dispute that the worker was an ancillary worker, or that in 2014 it reported a greater amount of overall earnings in Rate Group 711 than in Rate Group 134. Rather, the employer took the position that because the piece of equipment that the worker was repairing at the time of the accident was used in its quarry operation, Rate Group 134 should be used for the purpose of processing the costs associated with the worker's benefit claim. The employer relied on an excerpt from the Reference Guide for Employers which directs employers who have been assigned more than one rate group number, to give the rate group number that represents the type of employment that the worker was doing at the time of the accident/illness.
The Vice-Chair found that this excerpt did not apply to ancillary workers. It simply was an instruction to employers who have workers engaged in various Rate Groups to use the Rate Group in its accident report that pertains to the Rate Group in which the worker was classified. It does not pertain to ancillary workers. On the contrary, the Reference Guide went on to provide specific instruction on how to fill out the accident report in the case of an ancillary workers. For such workers, the Reference Guide provided that the classification to be used was that which represented the highest proportion of the annual assessable payroll, which in the present case was Rate Group 711.
It was clear from the Guide that for an ancillary worker, the work performed by this worker could not be assigned to a specific Rate Group. The Guide was not meant to allow an employer to retroactively reassign the worker from an ancillary worker to a worker in a specific Rate Group based on the specific task being done at the time of the accident.
The appeal was denied.