Alberta Reviews OHS System

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News From the Provinces

Alberta Labour Announces Comprehensive OHS Review – Invites Comments by October 16

Taking Alberta workplaces a little closer to heaven:

The province of Alberta is inviting stakeholders to get involved in a comprehensive review of its occupational health and safety (OHS) system. Although there have been some amendments (e.g. to the OHS Act in 2012, with an update to the OHS Regulation in 2013), the system was established in 1976. The operating OHS Code, containing details (such as WHMIS requirements) has not been updated since 2009.

[Note: Alberta Labour has also posted an update to their WHMIS 2015 transition policy following the extension of Health Canada’s deadline to 2018 for suppliers:

http://work.alberta.ca/documents/OHS-Bulletin-CH010.pdf ]

In addition to general regulatory updates, the review will also look at improving the fundamental aspects of the system under the key themes of responsibility, worker engagement and prevention.

Responsibility

This topic will examine potential enhancements to the internal responsibility system that may include tools such as prescribed joint health and safety committees or other programs, and enforcement options.

Worker Engagement

Worker engagement is dependant on protected rights- i.e. the right to: know about hazards; freely participate in OHS decisions or to refuse unsafe work, without fear of reprisal. Education and training of workers can assist in promoting worker engagement.

Prevention

The main focus of this theme in the review seems to be examining current programs to determine their effectiveness, as well as considering new activities.

In addition to improving the OHS of Alberta workers, the review should help standardize Alberta requirements with those of other jurisdictions to maximize worker OHS protection and facilitate consistency in employer policies.

There is a survey that interested individuals or organizations can use to provide input; or written submissions may be sent in directly to Alberta Labour. The deadline is midnight Oct. 16, 2017 to reply in either format. In addition, Alberta Labour expects to hold facilitated stakeholder sessions during September.

The Alberta government site on the review including the email address to submit comments, and links to the discussion paper and survey, is found at:

https://www.alberta.ca/ohs-system-review.aspx

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