New rules create safer, healthier workplaces
Modernized workplace laws are now in force to better protect Alberta workers and ensure they have the same rights as other Canadians.
For the first time in more than 40 years, Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) laws have been comprehensively reviewed and updated.
“For too long, Albertans had to rely on outdated workplace legislation to help keep them safe at work. After many months of consultation with employers, workers, labour and industry groups, I am proud to say our province’s workplace health and safety laws are now in line with the 21st century and will better protect Albertans at work."
Starting today, workers have stronger protections and three new fundamental rights:
- the right to know potential hazards
- the right to refuse dangerous work
- the right to participate in their health and safety
Joint work site health and safety committees will be required for work sites with 20 or more workers, while worker health and safety representatives will be needed for work sites with five to 19 workers.
“BILD Alberta members are dedicated to improving workplace safety through the implementation of Bill 30, An Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans. By enshrining the right to know, participate and refuse dangerous work, we believe that this legislation will serve to help protect workers. It is of critical importance to BILD Alberta that our members are working in a safe and informed manner, especially during the busy building months ahead.”
The changes are a culmination of comprehensive review and consultation with business, industry and the public. Last fall, the government received more than 1,300 responses to an online survey and nearly 90 written submissions. Eight in-person roundtable discussions, with more than 200 stakeholders from across the province were also held to gather feedback.
“The Alberta Construction Safety Association was pleased to participate in government consultations on Bill 30. We have taken steps to ensure our members were prepared for today, including workplace health and safety committee training and support. We look forward to continuing to work with the ministry and our industry partners to implement these important changes together.”
Other changes to Alberta’s OHS laws now in effect include:
- Requiring all potentially serious or “near-miss” incidents to be reported to OHS.
- Creating an independent medical panel office so injured workers have access to an impartial, independent decision-making body to resolve medical issues that affect their right to compensation.
- Ensuring employers define workplace harassment and violence and have prevention plans for each, including the requirement to investigate any complaints of harassment or violence.
“Habitat for Humanity applauds the government’s move to enhance the safety of workplaces. At Habitat, we understand the importance of training our volunteers and staff to safely perform construction tasks and informing them of any potential workplace hazards. Legislating these basic rights is an important step towards safer construction sites across our province.”
In order to help workplaces transition, the government has provided resources and information, including sample harassment and violence plan templates. Webinars and online courses are also available at Alberta.ca.
“Threads of Life shares the Alberta Government’s commitment to workplace health and safety. Creating awareness of the hazards will assist with prevention. We are optimistic these changes will support our common goal, where all workers come home well and safe at the end of their working day.”
The Alberta government will continue to work with employers and employees to ensure these new rules are implemented successfully and with ease.
- Since mid-March, more than 1,000 people have taken part in 20 webinars. These webinars will be available throughout the summer and as long as necessary. Pre-recorded webinars are also available and have been viewed more than 5,000 times.
- On May 22, 174 people attended an employer information session either in-person or via webcast.
- OHS has delivered 86 presentations to employers, safety associations and other organizations, with more than 5,000 people attending.
- The OHS e-newsletter contains updates on the changes and reaches more than 10,000 subscribers monthly.
- In partnership with the Alberta Chambers of Commerce, ongoing presentations can be scheduled for chambers members.