On June 1, 2018, significant changes to Alberta’s occupational health and safety legislation come into effect. The Occupational Health and Safety Act, SA 2017 c 0-2.1 ("OHSA"), introduces new obligations on workplace stakeholders, including owners, employers, supervisors, consultants, other service providers and temporary staffing agencies ("Workplace Stakeholders").
Some of the new specific obligations on Workplace Stakeholders include the following:
- Health and Safety Representative ("HSR") or Health and Safety Committee ("HSC"). There is now a requirement to have a designated HSR if there are between 5 and 19 workers on a worksite for more than 90 days or more or a HSC if there are more than 20 workers on a worksite for more than 90 days. The HSR and HSC have specific duties and functions and employers are required to provide the HSR and HSC with training on their obligations.
- Health and Safety Program. Employers that employ more than 20 workers are required to establish, in consultation with the HSC, a health and safety program (the "Program"). The Program is required to include specific information and be reviewed every 3 years or in the event of a change of circumstances.
- Harassment and Violence Policy. Employers are required to have both a harassment and violence policy that must include specific information such as prevention procedures.
The obligations set out above are only a few of the complete set of new obligations that have been introduced in the OHSA. Employers in Alberta should be aware that they are not only obligated to ensure the health, safety and welfare of workers, but also to provide competent supervisors, provide training for workers, prevent violence and harassment, and work with the HSR and HSC.