In 2014, there were 29 occupational fatalities caused by motor vehicle incidents, 59 occupational fatalities caused by workplace incidents, 81 fatalities caused by occupational disease, and 55,245 disabling injury claims in the Province of Alberta.
To best respond to emergencies, employers should prepare by, among other things, identifying and familiarizing themselves with reporting requirements under applicable legislation. Although such reporting requirements may not be top-of-mind given the primary need to ensure emergency assistance for the injured, failure to report workplace injuries can expose employers to significant liability.
Employers subject to Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety legislation must, if they are the prime contractor, or, if there is no prime contractor, the contractor or employer, report injuries resulting in death or that cause a worker to be admitted to hospital for more than two days as soon as possible to Alberta’s Workplace Health and Safety Contact Center (1-866-415-8690 or 780‑415‑8690 in Edmonton).
Employers subject to Alberta’s Workers’ Compensation regime are required to report work-related accidents that disable or are likely to disable a worker for more than the day of the accident or that require medical aid beyond first aid. Such accidents must be reported within 72 hours of acquiring knowledge of the accident or an allegation of accident. WCB Alberta interprets an employer’s reporting requirements to include accidents that result in or are likely to result in:
- lost time or the need to temporarily or permanently modify work beyond the date of accident;
- death or permanent disability (amputation, hearing loss, etc.);
- a disabling or potentially disabling condition caused by occupational exposure or activity (poisoning, infection, respiratory disease, dermatitis, etc.);
- the need for medical treatment beyond first aid (assessment by physician, physiotherapy, chiropractic, etc.); or
- medical aid expenses (dental treatment, eyeglass repair or replacement, prescription medications, etc.).
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Failure to report workplace injuries to the above authorities can result in significant actions being taken against the employer, including: penalties, audits of records and practices, investigations, premium adjustments, and prosecutions.
In addition to the above reporting requirements, employers may be subject to other post-injury obligations, such as requirements to preserve the accident site or commence an investigation. Employers subject to Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety legislation are also required to establish an emergency response plan for responding to emergencies that may require rescue or evacuation.