NEWS: Updated laws support workplace safety

October 22, 2021

The Government of Alberta announced that workplaces will be healthier and safer because updated work site laws are easier to understand and apply to employers and workers.

Changes to the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act and revised regulations take effect on December 1, 2021. These changes add flexibility and clarity and put all health and safety laws under one act while continuing to protect worker safety rights. Alberta’s OHS laws set health and safety rules for the province’s workplaces.

For employers: the updated laws will be easier to find and follow while continuing to provide guidance to ensure workplaces are as healthy and safe as possible.

For workers: the revised OHS laws continue to provide fundamental rights and protections to help ensure they are working in healthy and safe environments.

To make sure workplace health and safety laws are in one place and consistent with each other, the updated OHS Act will include radiation equipment laws. Changes to radiation laws remove duplication, update wording to align with the OHS Act and transfer enforcement from third-party agencies to OHS officers without making significant changes to Alberta’s highly regarded radiation protection program.

 

KEY CHANGES: 

  • Radiation equipment laws have been transferred from the Radiation Protection Act to the OHS Act and its regulations.
  • The new OHS Act is shorter than the existing act. This is due to eliminating repetition, duplication, simplifying language and moving detailed requirements into regulation.
  • Workers retain their three fundamental rights, which include the right to know of workplace hazards, the right to participate in health and safety matters and the right to refuse dangerous work.
  • “Discriminatory action complaints” are renamed “disciplinary action complaints” to avoid confusion with human rights legislation. Workers may file a complaint with government if they believe they have been disciplined for exercising their rights or responsibilities under OHS laws. Employers still need to prove disciplinary action is not related to compliance with OHS laws.
  • Rules for joint health and safety committees and health and safety representatives have been streamlined and are more flexible.

 

 Additional Resources

  • To view the Government of Alberta’s news release, click here.
  • To view the Government of Alberta’s fact sheet on the upcoming changes to the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act and revised regulations, click here.

 

Should you have questions, please contact Merit’s Health and Safety Advisor, Ward Soanes at wsoanes@meritalberta.com.

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MENTAL HEALTH INITIATIVES

We are proud to announce Merit’s Mental Health Strategy.

This program will keep mental health at the forefront for Merit members, their employees, and families.

We have made available to our members resources to assist in navigating mental health issues in the workplace and at home.