The Alberta government is considering establishing an Administrative Penalty System (APS) for occupational health and safety infractions. The OHS Policy and Program Development Branch of Alberta Human Services, in collaboration with the OHS Council, have developed a draft proposed APS.

The current initiative is intended to expand the range of compliance enforcement tools for OHS breaches. The option of an APS would involve monetary penalties, authorized in law, and levied by administrative action (a government body) rather than judicial action (charges/prosecution in the courts). This system would allow a penalty to be applied when there is a creation of a risk of harm or any non-compliance.

Alberta Human Services states that the APS is intended to assist in the prevention of actual harm on Alberta worksites before incidents take place. An administrative penalty would be issued based on an OHS Officer’s observations, together with a consideration of information regarding a worksite. Relevant considerations would, under the proposed APS, include: degree of risk of harm; gravity or seriousness of the contravention; degree of willfulness/negligence contributing to the contravention; and any history of non-compliance. These considerations would determine whether the issuing of an administrative penalty is warranted and, if so, the amount of the penalty.

The Alberta Government has asked for input from employers, workers, contractors, OHS professionals, and suppliers by completing an on-line survey by July 31, 2012. The draft proposal will then be submitted to the Minister of Human Services for his consideration.

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