Overview

Over the next 3 years, we are reviewing the Occupational Health and Safety Code (OHS Code). It’s an opportunity to improve health and safety outcomes for workers and streamline requirements to reduce unnecessary administrative burden.

The OHS Code is a regulation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS Act) that has not been extensively updated since 2009. Proposed updates to the code will reflect how workplaces are changing and consider new best practices, standards and technological advances.

The OHS Act requires government to publish a plan to review the OHS Code every 3 years. Between 2020-23, the OHS Code will be reviewed in 3 phases. During each phase, parts of the code will be reviewed, Albertans will be engaged to provide feedback, and the code will be updated and implemented.

Engagement status

  • Open

    Year 1 survey open March 30 to May 10, 2021

  • Results under review

  • Completed

Who is listening

Ministry of Labour and Immigration

  • OHS Code review: Year 1

    Parts requiring the most immediate updates and content requiring changes by the Ensuring Safety and Cutting Red Tape Act, 2020.

    2020-21
  • OHS Code review: Year 2

    Parts identified for review in year 2.

    2021-22
  • OHS Code review: Year 3

    Parts identified for review in year 3.

    2022-23

Key priorities

Proposed changes to the OHS Code will:

  • reflect current health and safety best practices
  • remove duplication and reduce administrative burden
  • align the OHS Code with other provinces, where applicable
  • update the OHS Code with changes required by the Ensuring Safety and Cutting Red Tape Act, 2020

Get involved

Learn more about proposed changes for each part of the OHS Code under review in year 1 and take the survey by May 10, 2021.

You can skip any part of the survey you do not wish to provide feedback on.

Take the survey

OHS Code parts under review in year 1

  • Part 4: Chemical hazards, biological hazards and harmful substances

    Part 4 contains requirements for assessing and controlling workplace exposures to chemical and biological hazards and harmful substances. These include specific requirements for working with asbestos, silica, coal dust and lead. Occupational exposure limits (OELs) for harmful substances, which accompany this part, are included in Schedule 1 of the OHS Code.

    Proposed changes to this part include:

    • updating technical standards
    • updating OELs
    • consolidating requirements for exposure assessments
    • linking requirements for codes of practice to the potential for exceeding an OEL
    • streamlining provisions for “restricted areas” and asbestos
    • updating requirements for health assessments

    Please use Proposed Updates to Occupational Exposure Limits (PDF, 872 KB) to help with your survey responses for part 4.

  • Part 6: Cranes, hoists, and lifting devices

    Part 6 contains requirements for the use of cranes and hoists.

    Proposed changes to this part include:

    • updating technical standards
    • introducing new standards for digger derricks, hoists, boom cranes and tractors, portal and pedestal crane
    • streamlining provisions to improve consistency and clarity
  • Part 10: Fire and explosion hazards

    Part 10 contains requirements to prevent fires and explosions at work sites.

    Proposed changes to this part include:

    • updating technical standards
    • removing repetition with safety codes and referenced technical standards
    • changing prescriptive requirements to outcome based requirements
  • Part 11: First aid

    Part 11 contains requirements for workplace first aid training, services, supplies and equipment that must be in place at the work site.

    Proposed changes to this part include:

    • harmonizing first aid requirements with other Canadian jurisdictions by referencing Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standards for training
    • reducing administrative burden
    • streamlining provisions to improve consistency and clarity
  • Part 13: Joint work site health and safety committees

    Part 13 contains requirements for joint work site health and safety committees and health and safety representatives.

    Proposed changes to this part include:

    • adding some of the provisions from the prior OHS Act to the OHS Code
    • changing prescriptive requirements to outcome-based requirements
    • removing repetition
  • Part 15: Managing the control of hazardous energy

    Part 15 contains requirements for isolating, securing and verifying securement for sources of hazardous energy. Hazardous energy has a broad definition and applies to electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, nuclear, thermal, gravitational or any other form of energy.

    Proposed changes to this part include:

    • streamlining provisions for complex lock out procedures
    • reducing administrative burden
    • updating requirements for pigging
  • Part 16: Noise exposure

    Part 16 contains requirements intended to protect workers from exposure to occupational noise hazards. Schedule 3 of the OHS Code includes details for noise exposure limits, hearing protector requirements and background noise in audiometry.

    Proposed changes to this part include:

    • updating technical standards
    • updating requirements to reflect best practices for health and safety
    • updating requirements for noise exposure assessment
    • addressing exposure to ototoxic chemicals (chemicals which can increase hearing loss with concurrent noise exposure)
    • adding new requirements for fit testing hearing protective equipment
    • streamlining requirements for audiometric testing
    • introducing new technical standards for audiometric testing
  • Part 17: Overhead power lines

    Part 17 addresses safe work procedures to prevent contact with overhead power lines.

    Proposed changes to this part include:

    • updating technical standards
    • aligning terminology with industry and other regulators
  • Part 18: Personal protective equipment

    Part 18 contains requirements and standards for personal protective equipment (PPE), which may be required when hazards cannot be eliminated or controlled using engineering or administrative controls.

    Proposed changes to this part include:

    • updating technical standards
    • introducing new standards for PPE to protect against electrical arc flash hazards and for equipment used by fire fighters
    • harmonizing requirements for safety vests and life jackets with those in other Canadian jurisdictions
    • aligning requirements for respiratory protective equipment with the referenced technical standards
    • allowing for the use of tool compressors for supplied air respirator systems if certain standards are met
  • Part 20: Radiation exposure

    The Ensuring Safety and Cutting Red Tape Act, 2020 merged the Radiation Protection Act with the OHS Act. As a result, consequential amendments must be made to accommodate the technical and administrative requirements.

    Proposed changes to this part include:

    • including the technical health and safety requirements of Radiation Protection Act and the Radiation Protection Regulation in the OHS Code while removing repetition
    • including the administrative items from the Radiation Health Administration Regulation in the OHS framework
    • removing the fee schedule for radiation agencies
  • Part 33: Explosives

    Part 33 contains general requirements related to workplace explosives safety, including specific industry requirements such as avalanche control blasting, oil and gas blasting and perforating, seismic blasting and drilling, and pyrotechnic special effects and display fireworks.

    Proposed changes to this part include:

    • updating technical standards
    • consolidating explosive requirements in the OHS Regulation and section 36 (Mining) into part 33
    • updating requirements to reflect best practices for health and safety
    • removing repetition
    • streamlining provisions to improve consistency and clarity
  • Part 36: Mining safety

    Part 36 contains requirements to address safety hazards on mining work sites, including specific technical requirements for pits and quarries, above ground and underground mines. The proposed changes have been recommended by a technical working group of industry, labour and government representatives that reviewed part 36 in the fall of 2020.

    Proposed changes to this part include:

    • updating technical standards
    • reorganizing requirements to provide greater clarity
    • consolidating requirements for mining from the OHS Regulation
    • updating requirements to reflect best practices for health and safety
    • changing prescriptive requirements to outcome based requirements
    • streamlining of administrative requirements
    • removing repetition
  • Part 37: Oil and gas

    Part 37 contains requirements to address hazards particular to upstream oil and gas work sites (exploration, drilling, servicing of oil wells). The proposed changes have been recommended by a technical working group of industry, labour and government representatives that reviewed part 37 in the fall of 2020.

    Proposed changes to this part include:

    • updating technical standards
    • reorganizing requirements to improve clarity
    • updating requirements to reflect best practices for health and safety
    • changing prescriptive requirements to outcome based requirements
    • streamlining administrative requirements
    • removing repetition

Future OHS Code review phases

As part of the OHS Code Review Plan 2020-23, the following parts will be reviewed in 2 additional phases from 2021 to 2023.

  • Year 2: 2021-22
    • Part 8, Entrances, Walkways, Stairways and Ladders
    • Part 12, General Safety Precautions
    • Part 19, Powered Mobile Equipment
    • Part 21, Rigging
    • Part 22, Safeguards
    • Part 23, Scaffolds and Temporary Work Platforms
    • Part 25, Tools, Equipment and Machinery
    • Part 32, Excavating and Tunnelling
    • Part 34, Forestry
    • Part 35, Health Care and Industries with Biological Hazards
  • Year 3: 2022-23
    • Part 2, Hazard Assessment, Elimination and Control
    • Part 3, Specifications and Certifications
    • Part 5, Confined Spaces
    • Part 7, Emergency Preparedness and Response
    • Part 9, Fall Protection
    • Part 14, Lifting and Handling Loads
    • Part 24, Toilets and Washing Facilities
    • Part 26, Ventilation Systems
    • Part 28, Working Alone
    • Part 29, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System
    • Part 30, Demolition
    • Part 31, Diving Operations
    • Part 39, Tree Care Operations
    • Part 40, Utility Workers: Electrical
    • Part 41, Work Requiring Rope Access

Part 27 of the OHS Code, Violence and Harassment, will be reviewed in the future. The exact timing has not been determined.

Contact

Connect with the OHS Code review:
Email: [email protected]

Last updated: March 30, 2021