Fort McMurray must be rebuilt safely: Alberta

OHS rules must be followed at all times

As businesses and employees work to get Fort McMurray back on its feet, safety must be the first priority to avoid incidents and injuries, according to the Alberta government.

During the rebuild effort, employers need to address new hazards such as ash, burned debris, and reduced air quality.

“I want to remind everyone that OHS rules are in place to keep workers safe and must be followed at all times. A focus on working safely can prevent incidents from happening and will help ensure the rebuilding process goes smoothly.” Christina Gray, Labour Minister.

Another concern is buildings, specifically those built before 2000, may contain asbestos. Demolishing a building without first removing any asbestos can only be done after acceptance under the OHS Code. Employers must ensure specific work procedures are followed, said the government.

Further, only workers who have completed an asbestos-worker training course through a Government of Alberta-accredited agency may do the work.

It's essential employers know their responsibilities under the law before any work starts. They should make sure any workers with health conditions have their health assessed by their doctor before arriving in Fort McMurray and only ask workers to do jobs for which they are trained, said the government.

They should ensure training is provided to workers who need it and provide appropriate personal protective equipment — conditions can change in an instant and it's best to be prepared. 

Employers are also required by law to address any health and safety concerns your workers may have.

Workers are encouraged to ask questions about how to do a job safely, and should do so before starting to work. Workers are legally entitled to refuse work that poses an “imminent danger,” meaning they haven’t been properly trained or equipped for the work.

Latest stories