LAWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Farms & Ranches
June 27: Alberta officially approved OHS changes that, effective Dec. 1, beef up protection for waged, non-family workers on farms and ranches, including mandatory:
- Emergency evacuation plans
- Protections against falls into bins and hoppers
- PPE training
- Mechanical equipment for moving heavy and awkward loads
- Machine guarding
- Standards for scaffolding
- Workplace violence prevention plans.
July: Throughout the summer, OHS inspectors will carry out targeted inspections focusing on compliance with fall protection rules at residential construction sites, specifically the requirements governing:
- Fall protection plans
- Worker instruction
- Clearance, maximum arresting force and swing
- Hazard assessment for work on ladders, scaffolds and mobile work platforms.
Sept. 1: New employment rules for young workers take effect:
- Youth ages 13-14 can take jobs on light work list, e.g., retail and food assembly
- Employers need permit to hire 13-14-year-olds for jobs not on light work list
- 15-year-olds can continue to do most jobs except for hazardous work
- On farms and ranches, waged, non-family youth ages 13 to 15 can do any non-hazardous work (rules don’t apply to family, friends and neighbours.
Workers’ Compensation—Bill 30
Sept. 1: The second round of Bill 30 workers’ comp changes take effect, including:
- Mandatory return to work
- New Code of Rights & Conduct for both employers and workers in dealing with WCB
- Interim relief benefits to ease the financial hardship of workers awaiting the outcome of their review or appeal
- WCB must make “all reasonable efforts” to help injured workers find jobs before estimating their earnings capacity
- Removal of cap for insurable earnings, i.e., workers to get compensation of 90% of net earnings with no limit
- Enhancement of benefits for surviving spouses
- Benefits adjustments to ease the hardship of severely injured young workers
- Extend appeal deadline to 2 years after Dispute Resolution and Decision Review Body.
Sept. 1: Maximum assessable earnings will remain $98,700 for the full 2018 year but the WCB is revising the MAE calculation formula for 2019.
Sept. 4: That’s the deadline to comment on changes to the procedures the WCB uses to consult employers, employees and other stakeholders before revising workers’ comp policies. The proposed revisions are designed to increase engagement.
Fatalities Accepted by WCB Alberta, Jan. 1 to April 30, 2018 vs. Same Period in 2017
Sept. 1: New rules require employers to continue paying the health benefits of injured workers who are absent from work due to a work injury for up to one year after the accident date. Key details:
- New rules apply to claims with accident date on or after Sept. 1, 2018
- Workers paying into benefit plan before injury must continue paying into plan or they lose their coverage
- Health care benefits covered include dental, vision care, medications, hospital services, health services and paramedic services
- Continued coverage extends not just to injured worker but spouses or other dependents who were covered before the accident.
July 9: The truck driver who collided with the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team bus was arrested and charged with dangerous driving. He faces up to14 years in prison if convicted. Meanwhile, the government held consultations on tough new driver safety certification regulations designed to prevent tragedies like this from happening again:
- Mandatory training of applicants for Class 1 (tractor trailer) and Class 2 (bus) driver’s licences
- Mandatory federal transportation rules compliance certification for new commercial carriers seeking to start a business in Alberta
- Tougher road tests for all classes of drivers.