Changes to Alberta OHS take effect in December

Health and safety committees no longer mandatory on worksites with multiple employers

Changes to Alberta OHS take effect in December

Several changes to Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act will be in effect starting Dec. 1.

“Hard-working Albertans go to their jobs every day expecting that they will come home safely at the end of their shifts. That’s why it’s important our laws and rules for workplace health and safety are easy to understand and follow, and involve everyone,” says Tyler Shandro, minister of labour and immigration. “The new OHS Act helps job creators and workers focus on improving health and safety outcomes rather than grappling with confusing rules and checking boxes.”

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.

If there is no prime contractor, the person in control of the site may voluntarily designate a prime contractor who would assume prime contractor responsibilities for health and safety. Otherwise, multiple-employer sites with no prime contractor, will still be required to have committees or representatives.

Meanwhile, OHS directors can still require a committee or representative for any worksite.

Also, the new OHS Act notes that the number of workers “regularly employed” in the worksite will be the main consideration when deciding if an employer requires a health and safety committee or a representative.

The act will still require sites with 20 or more workers to have a health and safety committee and sites with fewer than 20 workers to have a representative.

The new act clearly also dictates that information from potentially serious incident reports will be used for information and education only. It will only be used for enforcement in exceptional circumstances where a serious, uncontrolled hazard is still present at a workplace.

In July, Alberta extended the application period for the Critical Worker Benefit until Aug. 31.

There are also changes to the Alberta OHS Act in the areas of:

  • health and safety program requirements
  • disciplinary action complaints
  • dangerous work refusals
  • radiation protection laws
  • acceptances, allowances and approvals
  • prime contractors
  • work site party names
  • OHS directors
  • mining and mining sites
  • injury reporting

Changes to British Columbia’s Employment Standards Act regarding young workers took effect this month.

In July, the Workers Compensation Board (WCB) of Prince Edward Island called on stakeholders to provide their input as it hopes to improve the Workers Compensation Act.

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