OHS changes will make Alberta’s workplaces healthier & safer. Updated worksite laws are easier to understand and apply to employers and workers.
Changes to the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act and revised regulations take effect on Dec. 1. The changes add flexibility and clarity, putting all health & safety laws under one act.
“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 Alberta’s Minister of Labour and Immigration, Tyler Shandro.
“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.”
For employers, it will be easier to find & follow the updated laws. They will continue to provide guidance to ensure workplaces are as healthy and safe as possible.
For workers, the revised laws clarify fundamental rights and the protections they apply. The changes will ensure you know you are working in a healthy & safe environment.
Rules for joint health & safety committees, have been streamlined and are more flexible, as well as health & safety representatives.
Changes to the OHS Act affect both farms & ranches
Deciding if an employer requires a health & safety committee/representative has been simplified under the new OHS Act. The calculation is now based on the number of workers “regularly employed.”
Now, the number of workers more accurately depicts normal conditions. It excludes volunteers and those not being financially compensated in it’s calculation.
Technical requirements and rules for the committees and representatives move from the act to the OHS Code. The code is a regulation and is the proper place for technical requirements and rules.
The act retains the overall enabling provisions for committees and representatives.
While the committee and representative rules in the OHS Code will apply to eligible farms and ranches, the requirements of 20 or more workers for a committee and five to 19 workers for a representative remain the same.
Farms and ranches have modified training requirements for committees and representatives. Currently, training is not for committee members and is only required for committee co-chairs and representatives.
Farms and ranches remain exempt from all other parts of the OHS Code.
However, under the new OHS Act, employers with 20 or more regularly employed workers are still required to have a written health and safety program.
Labour and Immigration is providing guidelines to help employers and workers develop their health and safety programs. Now, employers and workers have more flexibility to develop programs that best suit their workplace.