Compliance Alert: 5 Key OHS Changes in Alberta

All of these changes take effect on December 1:

  1. Prime Contractors at Non-Construction Sites

Any work site where workers of multiple employers work may establish a prime contractor, not just construction and oil and gas work sites.

  1. JHSCs Not Required at Prime Contractor Sites

Multi-employer sites that have a prime contractor no longer have to establish a JHSC; however, the prime contractor must assign an individual to be responsible for coordinating health and safety between employers and workers at the site.

  1. New Work Refusal Restrictions

Work refusals are justified not simply for serious and imminent hazards, but “undue hazards” and workers can’t initiate refusals that endanger any other person.

  1. New Limits for Reprisal Cases

There are streamlined procedures for workers to file claims of discriminatory reprisals (now called “disciplinary actions”), as well as a 180-day filing deadline. In addition, OHS officers can now decline to investigate any complaint they believe to be “without merit, or frivolous, trivial, vexatious, filed with improper motives or otherwise an abuse of process.

  1. New Radiation Overexposure Reporting Rules

New injury reporting rules clarify that overexposure to radiation is an incident that employers or prime contractors must report to OHS authorities.