Written by: Daniel Boucher, Director, Regulatory Affairs, CPHR Alberta
The recent series of press events by the Minister of Labour would not have surprised HR Professionals. These events highlighted the changes contained within the new OHS Act that was passed in December 2017.
The Alberta Government subsequently rolled out changes to the OHS Code and Regulations, and as a result, many of you have been proactively involved in preparing your organizations to be in compliance.
Some of the new requirements will take time to fully develop and implement, but here are the first five actions we believe that your organizations should be taking to demonstrate their good faith in working towards full compliance.
1. Ensure that workers are being informed about potential hazards at their work site, and where to access basic health and safety information on site.
2. Establish a Joint Health & Safety Committee at each worksite that has 20 or more workers where work is lasting 90 days or more. At worksites with between five to 19 workers, you will need a worker Health & Safety Representative.
The committee(s) must have at least four members, with at least half of the members representing the workers.
If your organization has more than five workers but less than 20, you’ll need a Health & Safety Representative that has been chosen by the workers instead.
3. Have your Joint Health & Safety Committee members or Health & Safety Representative take the free training course from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Alberta Labour has not yet issued a listed of approved organizations to deliver the rest of the comprehensive training that each committee member needs, so in the meantime have them complete this online course.
4. Begin engaging the Joint Health & Safety Representative/Committee(s) in the development of your Health and Safety Program. There are ten elements that must be included in your Health and Safety Program:
A health and safety policy
Emergency Response Plan
Statement of OHS responsibilities of the employer, supervisors, and workers at the work site
Worksite inspection schedule and procedures
Procedures to follow when another employer or self-employed person is working at the work site
Health and safety orientation and training for workers and supervisors
Procedures for investigating incidents, injuries, and refusals to work
Procedures for worker participation in worksite health and safety, including inspections and investigations and investigations
Procedures for reviewing and revising the OHS program