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Understanding Alberta's Health & Safety Requirements

As an employer, you play an important role in preventing workplace injuries and promoting a safe and healthy workplace. In fact, under the  Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”), Occupational Health and Safety Regulation and Occupational Health and Safety Code (collectively, “OHS Legislation”) , you have a legal obligation to properly inform, instruct and supervise your employees and to do everything you reasonably can to protect them.

What are my obligations under the OHS Legislation?

I have less than 5 employees...

If you have less than 5 employees you are required to involve affected workers in your hazard assessments. All workers have the right to participate in decision-making on matters that affect their health and safety at work.

I have 5 to 19 employees...

Health & Safety  Representative:

If you have 5-19 employees, and work expected to last 90 days or more, you are required to appointment one worker as a Health and Safety Representative.

Representatives help employers respond to health and safety concerns of workers; develop health and safety policies and safe work procedures; develop and promote education and training programs; participate in work site inspections and investigations; investigate worker reports of dangerous work and refusal to work; and with health and safety orientations for new employees.

Employers must:

  • provide adequate resources, time and training to help committees and representatives function effectively
  • hold meetings and carry out duties and functions during normal working hours
  • post the names and contact information of committee members and representatives

Training Requirements:

Health and Safety representatives (HSR) shall be permitted to take annually the greater of 16 hours or the number of hours they would normally work during two shifts, to attend work site health and training programs, seminars or courses of instruction. The required HSR training includes two mandatory courses:

  • prerequisite course (Part 1) – 2 hour course, provided free of charge; and
  • training course (Part 2) – 6 to 8 hour course, provided by designated training agencies.

For more information on training, please review the following website:   HSC Training Bulletin/FAQ

I have 20 or more employees...

Health & Safety Committee (HSC):

If you have 20 or more employees, and work expected to last 90 days or more, you are required to appointment one worker asset up a Joint Worksite Health and Safety Committee that consisting of minimum 4 people (half of which must be workers) and must meet at least quarterly. The committee must meet during work hours or will have to be paid for additional time spent on their duties in this role.

Joint Worksite Health and Safety Committees help employers respond to health and safety concerns of workers; develop health and safety policies and safe work procedures; develop and promote education and training programs; participate in work site inspections and investigations; investigate worker reports of dangerous work and refusal to work; and with health and safety orientations for new employees.

HSC co-chairs shall be permitted to take annually the greater of 16 hours or the number of hours they would normally work during two shifts, to attend work site health and training programs, seminars or courses of instruction. The required HSC and HSR training includes two mandatory courses:

  • prerequisite course (Part 1) – 2 hour course, provided free of charge; and
  • training course (Part 2) – 6 to 8 hour course, provided by designated training agencies.

For more information on training, please review the following website:   HSC Training Bulletin/FAQ

Employers must:

  • provide adequate resources, time and training to help committees and representatives function effectively
  • hold meetings and carry out duties and functions during normal working hours
  • post the names and contact information of committee members and representatives where it

Health & Safety Program:
 
Your company must formalize and implement an official Health and Safety Program, comprised of a minimum of 10 sections including:

  • a health and safety policy,
  • hazard identification,
  • an emergency response plan,
  • responsibility statements,
  • inspection schedules,
  • protocols for visitors and third parties,
  • orientation and training plans,
  • investigation procedures,
  • worker participation guidelines,
  • any industry specific regulations that may pertain to your business
Harassment & Violence Prevention

All workplaces in Alberta must establish a harassment and violence prevention program which includes potential psychological harm within your workplace. All employers, supervisors, and workers have an obligation to prevent and address harassment and violence at the workplace.

Workplace harassment is defined as a single or repeated incident of objectionable or unwelcome conduct, comment, bullying or action intended to intimidate, offend, degrade or humiliate a particular person or group.

Workplace Violence is deemed as the threatened, attempted, or actual conduct of a person that causes or is likely to cause physical or psychological injury.

What you will need to do:

  • A prevention plan must be developed and implemented, which includes a policy statement, hazard assessments and procedures for both prevention and addressing complaints raised. The plans must be reviewed a minimum of every 3 years - see attached templates.
  • You will need to ensure new and existing workers read and acknowledge your policy statement and that it is posted in a visible location within your workplace.
  • A hazard assessment must be completed to determine what may be a potential risk and how to address it. Harassment and violence would be treated as any other hazard in the workplace, thus if you already conduct hazard (or risk) assessments, the same practice can be utilized - see attached templates.
  • Training is to be conducted to ensure workers understand the hazard of workplace harassment and violence, how to recognize the signs of danger, what to do about it, and how to report it.
  • Procedures will be required on how to report incidents or complaints and on how to conduct investigations. If you currently have an incident investigation process, it may be adapted to capture harassment and violence.
  • Lastly, employers must offer support to workers who are affected by an incident of harassment or violence in the workplace; either by consulting with a health professional of the worker’s choice or through an employee assistance program (EAP) if available.

The Alberta OHS provide a Harassment and Violence Prevention Plan Samples & Templates.

OHS Posting Requirements

You are required to post the below documentation and signage to protect the health and safety of workers. The law requires employers to post this information in areas in which workers have easy access to it, and in places where it is likely to come to the attention of workers.

First Aid Requirements

Employers, contractors or owners must provide first aid training and have first aid supplies at their workplaces. The number of first aid attendants needed, the extent of first aid training, as well as the amount and the type of first aid supplies required, depend on the number of workers, distance to a medical facility, and how hazardous the work is.

See attached for the Summary of Alberta First Aid Requirements to determine what is necessary in your workplace and a list of what is required in your workplace’s first aid kit. 

Government approved first aid training providers.

Employers are required to record all injuries and illnesses that occur at the work site.

WHMIS

WHMIS is a legal requirement to protect employees who work with hazardous materials. Not sure if this is relevant to your workplace? If any products on the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) classes of hazardous materials list are present, your staff must have WHMIS.

CFIB members can access a free online WHMIS course from VuBIZ.

CFIB is here to help!

In addition to the Health and Safety Requirements, there are several other compliance measures your business should be considering. Don’t forget that CFIB is here to help you. You can always call our counsellors if you have further questions on 1.888.234.2232 or email us at [email protected].