The Alberta government aims to protect the health and safety of working Albertans by bringing into effect the Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans. Most of the changes featured in the Act will come into effect on June 1, 2018.
Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans Highlights
The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), which establishes minimum standards for health and safety, covers Alberta already. The legislation within the OHSA is supported through the concept of an Internal Responsibility System (IRS), and it is enforced through compliance activities. The three basic rights of the worker: the right to know, the right to participate, and the right to refuse unsafe work, are also included.
Under the new Act, the rights, roles, and responsibilities under the OHSA do not change; however, they have been enshrined, highlighted, and strengthened. Definitions, roles, and responsibilities have also been highlighted so that everyone has a better understanding of the role they play in workplace health and safety.
Notable Changes: Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans
The Act brings with it some notable changes, including new requirements for Joint Worksite Health and Safety Committees. The most important changes and additions are highlighted below:
- Employers with 20 or more people at a work site are required to have a Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) if the job is expected to last longer than 90 days
- Smaller employers with 5-19 workers are required to have a health and safety representative (HSR) if work is expected to last longer than 90 days
- Employers may use alternative approaches to meeting requirements with the approval of the OHS director
- The OHS Council will play an advisory role to provide advice to the government to better protect working Albertans
- The threshold for the requirement to report an accident has increased to include any accident that results in hospital admission
- Medical assessment requirements have been updated
- Compliance tools and the powers to conduct inspections and investigations have been expanded
- The appeals process has been streamlined
- Offence types have been expanded
- The roles, duties, and authorities of government for OHS will be clearly articulated to reduce misunderstanding
All of these changes serve to bring Alberta in line with what other provinces already have in place. Other provinces’ initiatives and legislation that Alberta’s new Act is modeled upon is proven to better the lives, safety, health, and well being of workers in those provinces.
For more information about the Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans, click here.
For more information about in-class Alberta Joint Health and Safety Committee Training, please view our training course or call 1-877-652-5262.