Changes due to COVID-19

Officers are responding to all complaints normally investigated under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Regulation and Code.

OHS officers will observe all COVID-19 control measures on work sites, including physical distancing and sanitation requirements. These inspections also focus on directives required by the chief medical officer of health.

Officers may conduct some work site inspections remotely.

We may collaborate and conduct joint inspections with other regulators, including:

  • Alberta Health Services
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  • Children’s Services

Overview

Each year, OHS proactively inspects employers to monitor compliance with legislation. OHS chooses employers and sectors with:

  • Relatively high injury and illness rates
  • High frequency of incidents or complaints
  • Persistently low rates of compliance
  • Emerging trends

Inspection programs help work site parties identify health and safety hazards and measures to mitigate the hazards. More information on prevention priorities for the OHS system is available in the Prevention Initiative for Alberta's OHS System.

How inspections are done

An OHS officer’s role is to monitor compliance with the legislation through review of records and documents, observations and conversations with work site parties. OHS officers may take measurements, samples, photos or recordings. A record of the inspection will be provided to work site parties at the conclusion of a site visit.

Work site parties are responsible for correcting any non-compliance identified by the OHS officer.

OHS officers may re-inspect sites to check on previous non-compliance with OHS laws.

Current programs

Timing of programs will run from January 2021 to January 2022.

OHS will focusing on the following areas:

  • Construction Sector Inspection Program

    The Construction and Construction Trade Services sector (Construction sector) includes over 60 subsectors and over 200,000 workers. The program will focus on subsectors that have of a history of health and safety non-compliance and employers with poor health and safety performance.

    Subsectors selected include:

    • construction trade services
    • drywall, plaster, stucco
    • heating systems install
    • residential general contractor
    • doors and windows install
    • roofing
    • framing contractors
    • brick or masonry contracting

    The program will work with employers and workers to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities and to proactively address health and safety concerns, while focusing compliance activities on promoting the Internal Responsibility System (IRS).

    Common hazards associated with construction sector include:

    • slips, trips and falls
    • musculoskeletal disorders due to repetitive use, overexertion, heavy lifting
    • struck by object
    • psychosocial hazards, including workplace violence, harassment, and mental health
    • COVID-19

    Common orders associated with construction sector include, but not limited to:

    • hazard assessments
    • fall protection
    • entrances, walkways, stairways and ladders
    • general safety precautions
    • personal protective equipment
    • powered mobile equipment
    • scaffolds and temporary work platforms

    Scope and timing

    The Construction Sector Inspection Program will commence in winter 2020 and will be completed in Spring 2021. A total of 1000 inspections will be conducted.

  • Manufacturing, Processing, Packaging Program (MPP)

    Manufacturing, Processing, Packaging (MPP) forms a WCB group sector that includes 74 subsectors. Subsectors include meat/food processing, manufactured products, material fabrication, material processing and material packaging.

    The program will work with employers and workers to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities and to proactively address health and safety concerns, focusing compliance activities on promoting the Internal Responsibility System (IRS).

    A total of 33 of the 74 subsectors have been selected under the MPP program.

    Common hazards associated with MPP include:

    • musculoskeletal disorders due to repetitive use, overexertion, heavy lifting
    • slips, trips and falls
    • contact with machinery, equipment and tools
    • fires and explosions
    • exposure to harmful substances, including pandemic management, which includes Covid-19
    • psychosocial hazards. including workplace violence, harassment, and mental health

    Common orders associated with MPP include, but not limited to:

    • lifting devices operation, inspection, maintenance
    • manufacturing specifications
    • hazard assessments
    • safety training
    • lock-out or tag-out
    • safeguards
    • noise management
    • maintenance and operation of tools, equipment and machinery

    Scope and timing

    The MPP Inspection Program will take place between January 2021 to December 2021.

  • Service Sector Program

    The Service Sector Program will support Alberta’s OHS Prevention Initiative by using an evidence-based approach to developing an intervention strategy for both high-risk industries and associated employers.

    Based on the 2019-20 employer index and the high population of vulnerable workers through labour market impact assessment (LMIA) data, the following industries are identified for inspection in 2021-22:

    • restaurant and catering
    • trucking services
    • food and convenience stores
    • hotels and convention centres

    Vulnerable workers represent a high-risk segment of the working population due to language barriers, and working in industries with repetitive motions resulting in greater risk of musculoskeletal injuries.

    The program will work with employers and workers to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities and to proactively address health and safety concerns, while focusing compliance activities on promoting the Internal Responsibility System (IRS).

    OHS will work with the partnering agencies to ensure a collaborative and consistent approach.

    Common hazards associated with identified industries include:

    • psychological injuries
    • musculoskeletal injuries
    • harassment and workplace violence
    • repetitive motions
    • working alone
    • slips and trips
    • improper or lack of worker training
    • English as a Second Language

    Typical orders issued within service sectors that employ vulnerable workers include, but not limited to:

    • hazard assessments
    • Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) training
    • safety training
    • violence and harassment in the workplace

    Scope and timing

    The Service Sector Inspection Program will take place between January 2021 to December 2021.

  • Selected Employer Program

    The Select Employer Program’s objective is to use a risk-based approach to selecting employers for proactive inspections. These inspections focus on raising the awareness of the internal responsibility system.

    Common hazards associated include:

    • psychosocial hazards, including workplace violence and harassment
    • musculoskeletal disorders due to repetitive use
    • overexertion and heavy lifting
    • slips, trips and falls

    Typical orders issued within Select Employer include, but not limited to:

    • entrances, walkways, stairways and ladders
    • fall protection – all sections
    • general safety precautions
    • housekeeping
    • lifting and handling loads
    • violence and harassment
    • WHMIS
    • safety training

    Scope and timing

    The Selected Employer Inspection Program will take place between January 2021  to December 2021.

  • Healthcare Inspection Program

    Healthcare forms a WCB group sector that includes 8 subsectors:

    • Alberta Health Services
    • Covenant Health
    • private medical and physiotherapy centres
    • home support services
    • rehabilitation services for disabled
    • seniors’ supportive living and lodges
    • continuing care facilities
    • health care services and other providers

    The program will work with employers and workers to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities and to proactively address health and safety concerns, focusing compliance activities on promoting the Internal Responsibility System (IRS).

    Common hazards associated with healthcare include:

    • exposure to harmful substances, including COVID-19 and harmful medications
    • psychosocial hazards, including workplace violence, harassment, fatigue and mental health
    • musculoskeletal disorders due to repetitive use, overexertion and heavy lifting
    • slips, trips and falls

    Common orders associated with healthcare include, but not limited to:

    • violence and harassment policies, plan and training
    • hazard assessment completion and worker participation
    • fit testing for an effective facial seal on respiratory protective equipment (RPE)
    • training on lifting and handling loads to prevent musculoskeletal injury
    • WHMIS
    • general safety training and communication

    Scope and timing

    The Healthcare Inspection Program will take place between January 2021 to December 2021.

  • Mining Program

    Mining forms a WCB group sector that includes 11 subsectors including mobile equipment operation, mining and overburden removal, oil sands operations, cement and limestone manufacturing, including quarrying.

    Four distinct mining environments have been identified for inclusion: oil sands, coal, quarries, and sand and gravel operations.

    The program will work with employers and workers to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities and to proactively address health and safety concerns, focusing compliance activities on promoting the Internal Responsibility System (IRS).

    Common hazards associated with mining include:

    • equipment operations, loss of equipment control
    • maintenance activities, contact with machinery, equipment and tools
    • worker competency, fit for duty
    • environmental hazards, exposure to dust and fumes
    • ground stability hazards, impacts by ground failures
    • blasting hazards, access to explosives
    • automation of mining equipment such as haul trucks

    Typical orders issued within these industry sectors include, but not limited to:

    • mining
    • fire and explosion hazards
    • hazard assessments
    • general safety precautions
    • entrances, walkways, stairways and ladders
    • safeguards
    • personal protective equipment
    • chemical and biological hazards, and harmful substances

    Scope and timing

    The Mining Inspection Program will take place between January 2021 to December 2021.

Contact

Connect with OHS:

Phone: 780-415-8690 (Edmonton)
Toll free: 1-866-415-8690 
TTY: 780-427-9999 (Edmonton)
TTY: 1-800-232-7215

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