Basic rules

  • Employers of lookout observers aren’t required to maintain records of the regular and overtime hours worked by employees.
  • The requirement to confine an employee’s hours of work within a period of 12 consecutive hours in a workday doesn’t apply to lookout observers.
  • There are no restrictions on the maximum hours of work per day.
  • Lookout observers are exempt from all rules around days of rest but are still entitled to daily breaks.
  • Lookout observers are exempt from all overtime requirements and overtime pay.

Who’s considered a lookout observer

A lookout observer is an employee stationed at a wildfire lookout site whose primary responsibilities are to:

  • provide early detection of smoke and fires
  • report smoke, fire and lightning observations
  • monitor and record observed smoke and fires

Employment records

Employers of lookout observers aren’t required to maintain records of the regular and overtime hours worked by employees.

Employers of lookout observers are still subject to the other requirements for employment records under the Employment Standards Code.

Hours of work and rest

  • The requirement to confine an employee’s hours of work within a period of 12 consecutive hours in a workday doesn’t apply to lookout observers.
  • There are no restrictions on the maximum hours of work per day.
  • Employees are not exempt from rest periods (breaks) and must receive at least a 30 minute break for each 5-hour period worked.

While these employees aren’t restricted by the hours within which they may work, the following should be considered.

  • The employer and employee must comply with safe work practices in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Occupational Health and Safety Code.
  • Under Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation, an employer must ensure the health and safety of its workers. This includes monitoring hours of work if extended hours of work can affect the health and safety of a worker or their co-workers.
  • Workers have a right and a responsibility to refuse work if it appears unsafe.

For information about fatigue and safety, see the Workplace Health and Safety Bulletin, Fatigue and Safety at the Workplace. You can also get a copy of this publication from any OHS office in Alberta. To find an office near you, call the OHS Contact Centre toll-free at 1-866-415-8690.

Days of rest

Lookout observers are exempt from all rules around days of rest.

Overtime and Overtime pay

Lookout observers are exempt from all overtime requirements and overtime pay.

What additional Employment Standards apply

In addition to the special provisions outlined above, all other minimum standards for employment apply to lookout observers. Additional information on these rules can be found at:

How the law applies

Section 1.2(1) and 1.2 (2) of the Employment Standards Regulation outlines the provisions for lookout observers.

Disclaimer: In the event of any discrepancy between this information and Alberta Employment Standards legislation, the legislation is considered correct.

Contact

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