With the end of 2007 approaching, Gowlings would like to take this time to review some of the significant changes to Canadian occupational health and safety ("OHS") laws that have occurred during the past year:

Alberta

employment.alberta.ca On February 1, 2007, the first set of revisions to the OHS Code came into force. The most noteworthy changes occurred in Part 15 - formerly titled, "Locking Out," which is now called, "Managing the Control of Hazardous Energy." February 1, 2007 also brought the addition of two new parts, Part 40 - Utility Workers (Electrical) and Part 41 - Work Requiring Rope Access.

On October 31, 2007, Part 38 of the OHS Code - "Residential Roofing" - expired, requiring all employers in Alberta's roofing industry to comply with the requirements of Part 9 - "Fall Protection."

British Columbia

 www.worksafebc.com On July 26, 2007, a new part under the OHS Regulation, starting at section 3.22, titled "Young or New Workers," came into force. Employers are now required to provide young or new workers with a health and safety orientation that covers prescribed topics, including, but not limited to, working alone, violence and personal protective equipment.

In September 2007, the Board of Directors of WorkSafeBC approved further amendments to the OHS Regulation. Changes to first aid (Part 3), confined spaces (Part 9), fall protection (Part 11), ladders, scaffolds and temporary work platforms (Part 13), cranes and hoists (Part 14), and mobile equipment (Part 16) will come into force on February 1, 2008.

Manitoba

 www.gov.mb.ca/labour On February 1, 2007, twelve previously existing regulations made under The Workplace Safety and Health Act were consolidated into a 44-part document titled, The Workplace Safety and Health Regulation 217/2006 ("WSHR"). Requirements under the WSHR were developed to be more consistent with OHS laws in other Canadian jurisdictions and to provide comprehensible direction with respect to protecting workers' health and safety.

New Brunswick

 www.whscc.nb.ca Bill 18, An Act to Amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act, was proclaimed in June 2007. The new legislation affects any workplace with a Joint Health and Safety Committee ("JHSC") or Health and Safety Representative. The changes are concerning training of JHSC members, the structure of JHSCs on project sites and monthly workplace health and safety inspections.

Nova Scotia

 www.gov.ns.ca/enla Sections 1 to 6 of the Violence in the Workplace Regulations, made under section 82 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, came into force on October 1, 2007. Sections 7 to 16 are scheduled to come into force on April 1, 2008. This regulation requires employers to recognize violence as a workplace hazard, assess the risk of the hazard of violence, develop a violence prevention plan and provide training and supervision regarding the violence and prevention plan to workers.

Ontario

 www.labour.gov.on.ca On July 1, 2007, the Industrial Establishments Regulation lowered the eight-hour time-weighted average noise level that a worker can be exposed to from 90 decibels to 85 decibels. In addition, a new time weighted averaging system was introduced to provide greater precision when quantifying noise exposure.

On October 1, 2007, revisions to section 11 of Mines and Mining Plants came into force. The revisions relate to prescribed training requirements for mine workers.

Be sure to stay tuned to the OHSLAWTM Report and the OHSLAWTM Podcast throughout 2008 to keep current with significant changes to Canadian OHS laws. All the best to you and yours during what Gowlings hopes to be a very safe and happy holiday
season! ??