AB Releases Updated ‘Prime Contractor’ Bulletin


Most companies hire outside contractors for some kind of work. But figuring out who’s responsible for workplace safety and coordinating implementation of various safety rules and systems from various employers can be a big challenge. Some jurisdictions have tried to simplify the situation where two or more employers are working in the same workplace by requiring a “prime contractor,” who’s responsible for coordinating safety efforts among the employers.

Alberta is one such jurisdiction. And it recently updated its bulletin on prime contractors. Here’s a look at what that guide has to say.

Who Is the Prime Contractor?

The bulletin explains that Sec. 3(1) of the OHS Act requires a prime contractor whenever there are two or more contractors working at the same worksite at the same time. Example: a construction site.

Unless other arrangements are made, the owner of the worksite is the prime contractor. But the owner can sign a written agreement transferring that title—and the responsibilities—to someone else, either an individual or a company, provided that person or organization is capable of fulfilling the prime contractor duties.

In addition, the owner can transfer prime contractor duties for a smaller worksite within the main worksite to someone else. This transfer must also be in a written agreement.

Prime Contractor’s Duties

The prime contractor’s general duty is to do what’s reasonably practicable to ensure compliance with OHS requirements at the worksite. This position also has other more specific duties, such as ensuring that required first aid services, equipment and supplies are available at the worksite.

To fulfill these duties, the bulletin says that the prime contractor should establish and maintain an OHS compliance system for the worksite.

Learn More about Contractors & Safety

For more information on contractors and workplace safety in general, go to the “Contractor” topic page, which lists all of the content on OHSInsider.com that’s related to contractors. It includes model tools, such as a contractor pre-hiring safety assessment checklist.