Province seeks input on updates to workplace health and safety rules

Violence and harassment, explosives among focus points of survey on OHS

Province seeks input on updates to workplace health and safety rules

Alberta is looking to make workplaces in the province safer with the help of stakeholders.

The provincial government has launched an online survey to seek input from interested parties as it reviews the Occupational Health and Safety Code (OHS Code). Alberta is looking to make updates to the code.

“Alberta’s workplaces have gone through many changes during the past 15 years and Alberta’s government needs to make sure health and safety laws reflect modern workplaces,” says Matt Jones, minister of jobs, economy and trade. “I encourage workers, employers and health and safety professionals to provide their valuable input to help improve and update the OHS Code so it works better for everyone.”

Alberta also updated the OHS Act back in 2021. Under the revised act, health and safety committees and representatives will no longer be mandatory on worksites with multiple employers and a prime contractor. Instead, prime contractors will be required to coordinate health and safety issues between workers and employers by designating a person to ensure cooperation between employers and workers.

“The average claim duration over at WCB [Workers’ Compensation Board of Alberta] has risen from 34 to 63 days over the past decade,” said Teresa Haykowsky, partner at McLennan Ross in Edmonton, back in October 2023.

Violence and harassment, explosives, oil and gas wells

The 2024 survey in Alberta will focus on the following parts of the OHS Code:

  • Part 27 – Violence and harassment
  • Part 33 – Explosives
  • Part 37 – Oil and gas wells

Almost half of Alberta employees have faced sexual harassment in the workplace, but just one in 10 have reported it to their manager, according to a previous report.

Stakeholders can fill out the entire survey or just the parts that interest them.

“Alberta’s government is looking for input on proposed updates to the OHS Code that consider new best practices, updated standards, technological advances and streamline requirements to reduce unnecessary administrative burden,” says the provincial government. “The government is also looking to align Alberta’s code with other Canadian jurisdictions, which promotes labour mobility and inter-provincial trade.”

The survey period will run until March 19. Those looking to share their inputs can do so here.

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