Alberta Reviews OHS System

Warehouse with chemicals

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: ]

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.


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.


The main focus of this theme in the review seems to be examining current programs to determine their effectiveness, as well Continue Reading…

Transfer of Dangerous Goods

The Alberta government has issued Industrial Railway Circular No. 1 (Guideline for the Transfer of Dangerous Goods to or from a Railway Vehicle).

Although only a 7 page document, there are 11 sections:

  1. General
  2. Exceptions
  3. Notification/site selection
  4. Primary selection criteria
  5. Additional selection criteria
  6. Approvals
  7. Inspections
  8. Training
  9. Documentation
  10. Notification
  11. Regulatory requirements

The guideline falls under the Railway (Alberta) Act and applies to companies that intend to transfer dangerous goods to or from a railway vehicle. This circular does not apply to Class 1 Explosives. These must be handled under the Federal Handling of Carloads of Explosives on Railway Trackage Regulations.

Railways that intend to construct or connect railway track to a service provider or construct railway works must have approval from the provincial government. Site selection is done in accordance with sections 4 and 5, and if the criteria cannot be met, the application may still be considered if an equivalent level of safety can be demonstrated.

The guideline suggests a dangerous goods transfer track/rack should meet minimum distances from residences, commercial establishments, schools, hospitals, recreation centres, etc..

Dangerous Goods Class



100 m


50 m


250 m


450 m

3   excluding inhalation hazard materials

50 m

4.1  molten sulphur

100 m

5.1   excluding inhalation hazard materials

50 m

6.1   excluding inhalation hazard materials

100 m


100 m


50 m

In addition, the site shall not be located next to busy highways, under a bridge or overpass, next to transformers, power lines, sources of ignition, etc.. The site shall be located so that emergency responders can access it as well as be Continue Reading…