OHS Insider Month in Review – January 2019 Alberta
LAWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
|Workers’ Comp Filing Deadline
Feb. 28, 2019
March 1: That’s the effective date of new entry-level safety training for Class 1 and Class 2 drivers adopted in the wake of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team bus tragedy. Drivers getting a Class 1 or Class 2 licence between now and then will have to take the new enhanced knowledge and road test (at government expense) when it goes into effect in March.
Jan.: Bill 30, which took effect last June, requires employers (and prime contractors) to ensure JHSC co-chairs and/or health and safety representatives receive about their duties and functions. But the government still hasn’t published the training standards and approved providers. And it’s cautioning employers to be “wary” of providing such training until it does.
Reported OHS fines in Alberta since Sept.:
|$300,000||McNabb Construction Ltd.||Attachment point on overhead crane being used to suspend gravel crushing cone liner gives way. Load falls on worker below killing him. It was just the victim’s third day on the job||Failure to ensure that work is done by a competent worker or a worker working under the direct supervision of a competent worker|
2 years corporate probation
|Alpine Paving and Contracting Ltd.||Pick-up truck falls off jacks and kills one of the two workers repairing it||Failure, as employer, to:
*Ensure worker’s health and safety
*Perform a hazard assessment
|$31,500 + 1 year probation||Chad England||Same incident as above in which pick-up truck falls off jacks and kills one of the two workers repairing it||Failure, as a worker, to ensure the safety of another worker|
|$108,100||CMR Fabricators Ltd.||Pipe falls from one of pipe stands supporting it and lands on leg of worker attempting to manually roll it||Failure, as employer, to:
*Ensure workers were trained in safe operation of pipe stands
*Ensure dangerous work is done by a competent worker
*Ensure equipment to be moved was safely contained, restrained or protected
*Perform a hazard assessment before manually transporting a dangerous load
|$100,000||Tory Industries Ltd.||Worker doing drill work suffers serious injury after his hand becomes entangled in drill bit and countersink||Failure to ensure a worker’s health and safety|
|$90,000||Raging River Exploration Inc.||Oilfield service worker using a boom truck to move a pump jack owned by Raging River seriously injured after getting hit by pump jack counterweights which weren’t locked out||Failure, as prime contractor, to establish or maintain a system to ensure that employers and workers on site complied with the pump jack lock-out and operational procedures|
|$75,000 + 1 year probation||Mark Dumont||Worker killed after being hit by an excavator and getting pinned between its counterweight and the manhole cylinder being prepared for installation||Failure, as a worker, to ensure the safety of another worker—charges against employer withdrawn|
|$57,500 + 1.5 years corporate probation||Tri-Line Contracting Services Ltd.||Cement manhole base falls off lift assembly and falls onto worker in excavation below causing serious injury||Failure to ensure a worker’s health and safety|
|$34,500||Goldec Hamms Manufacturing Ltd.||Worker suffers serious injury in flash fire while welding a hydraulic tank that had been cleaned with a solvent||Failure to inspect surrounding area before welding began to ensure all flammable material, gas or vapour was removed or alternative methods of rendering the area safe were used|
Nov. 19: New laws that take effect in 2020 will require municipalities to take measures to prepare for emergencies, including:
- Regular review and testing of emergency plans
- Training employees and elected officials in emergency response
- Establishing clear roles and responsibilities for municipal emergency advisory committees and emergency management agencies.
Jan. 1: New OHS Code rules banning employers from making workers wear high heels or other footwear that may pose health and safety risks take effect and apply even in bars, restaurants and other hospitality establishments.
Drugs & Alcohol
Nov. 30: After years of litigation, Suncor and the unions have agreed on limited random drug testing of safety-sensitive workers at oil sands sites, including workers of contractors hired to work at the sites, starting early next year.
Jan. 1: New Employment Standards Code rules for kids age 12 and under take effect:
- Ban on hiring 12-and-unders for anything but film, TV, stage and other artistic endeavours
- Government permit and parental/guardian consent required
- Employers must provide proper training and supervision and warn parents/guardians of any workplace risks.
WCB Fair Practices Office
Dec. 1: The newly created WCB Fair Practices Office opened its doors and will take over responsibility for advising employers and workers on workers’ comp appeals—the function previously carried out by the Office of Appeals Advisor.
Workers’ Comp Rates
Jan. 1: Thanks to increases in claims volume, costs and duration—not to mention new Bill 30 benefits—average premiums are going up 4¢ to $1.08 per $100 assessable payroll Maximum assessable earnings remain $98,700.