On-Track Safety Solutions

2018 Changes to the Alberta OH&S Program

There will be several changes in 2018 to the OHS system to make several improvements with the goal of creating a better system that protects workers and ensures that they are enjoying the same rights as all other Canadians.

Most of the changes will come into effect June 1, 2018, and information can be found on the alberta.ca website.  Below is a review of the changes that will soon go into effect.

Basic rights of workers

The changes will enshrine the three basic rights of workers in Alberta’s legislation:

  • The right to refuse unsafe work protects workers from any form of reprisal for exercising this right, including loss of compensation or benefits.
  • The right to know ensures workers are informed about potential hazards and have access to basic health and safety information in the workplace.
  • The right to participate ensures workers are involved in health and safety discussions, including participation in health and safety committees.

Responsibilities of worksite parties

The OHS system is grounded on the principle that everyone in the workplace is responsible for health and safety in the workplace.

  • Employers would be responsible for:
    • ensuring the health, safety and welfare of workers and the public
    • providing competent supervisors, training workers, and preventing violence and harassment
    • working with the joint worksite health and safety committee or health and safety representative
  • Supervisors would have would have legal responsibilities for OHS and be responsible for preventing violence and harassment.
  • Workers would be responsible for protecting their own and others’ health and safety at worksites and refraining from violence and harassment.
  • Contractors would be responsible for ensuring that work under their control does not endanger health and safety.
  • Prime contractors would be required in construction, oil and gas worksites or any other projects that are designated by the OHS director. They would also have added responsibilities to ensure worker health and safety.
  • Owners of worksites would be responsible for ensuring that property under their control does not endanger health and safety.
  • Suppliers would have to ensure their products are safe to use, and must include user instructions for all equipment, including leased equipment. They would also have to provide a notice when their product or equipment doesn’t comply with the law.
  • Service providers would have to ensure the services they provide comply with the laws, are provided by a competent person and do not create a hazard.
  • Self-employed persons would have responsibilities to ensure they do not create a hazard to others and to comply with OHS laws.
  • Temporary staffing agencies would have to comply with OHS laws and ensure worker health and safety.

Availability of information

Workers have the right to know of workplace health and safety hazards and employers have an obligation to provide this information. Changes to the act will:

  • enshrine a worker’s right to know about workplace hazards
  • require all worksite parties to ensure that information on health and safety hazards is provided onsite

Worksite health and safety committees and representatives

Joint worksite health and safety committees are important forums for workers to participate in OHS. They ensure supervisors and workers discuss health and safety issues in the workplace and work collaboratively to find ways to address them. These committees will be responsible for:

  • inspecting the work site for hazards
  • helping employers respond to health and safety concerns of workers
  • helping resolve unsafe work refusals
  • helping develop health and safety policies and safe work procedures
  • helping with new employee health and safety orientation
  • developing and promoting education and training programs

Changes will bring Alberta in line with the other provinces.

  • Larger employers (20 or more workers) will be required to have a joint worksite health and safety committee for work lasting 90 days or more.
  • Smaller employers (5-19 workers) will be required to have a health and safety representative for work lasting 90 days or more.
  • An employer can use an alternative approach to meeting these requirements with approval from an OHS director.

Right to refuse dangerous work

Workers have the right to refuse dangerous work and be protected from reprisal for exercising their rights and responsibilities under the legislation.

Employers must ensure workers understand the hazards at the workplace, know what needs to be reported and have the support to exercise their right.

  • Employers must investigate the matter in cooperation with the joint worksite health and safety committee or health and safety representative, if there is one.
  • Employers would not be able to take or threaten discriminatory action against a worker for exercising their rights and duties under the legislation.
  • Workers would continue to be paid their normal wages and benefits while a work refusal is being investigated.

Health and safety program

  • Employers with 20 or more workers must have a written health and safety program. The program must be reviewed every 3 years and include mandated elements.
  • Employers with less than 20 employees must involve workers in hazard assessment and control.

New role for OHS Council

The OHS Council will become an advisory council to provide specialized advice to government to better protect working Albertans.

Reporting serious injuries, incidents and fatalities

The government must be notified when a serious injuriy, incident or fatality occurs to ensure it’s adequately investigated to prevent future occurrences.

  • Threshold for reporting a serious injury would be changed to an injury that requires admission to hospital.
  • Employers will be required to report “near misses” (incidents that had the potential to cause a serious injury or incident).

Medical assessments

Medical assessment requirements will be updated to align modern care practices and how medical services are delivered.

  • Medical examinations could only occur with the worker’s consent and would be considered time at work.
  • The list of health-care professionals who are required to report a notifiable occupational disease would be expanded.
  • The director of medical services would be provided more access to medical information to prevent occupational illnesses and injury.

Compliance and enforcement

Powers to conduct inspections and investigations, as well as compliance tools, will be expanded and updated.

  • The person who receives an order would be required to
    • report back to OHS on measures taken to remedy any infractions
    • provide a copy of the report to their joint worksite health and safety committee or health and safety representative, if they have one
    • post the report at the worksite
  • Officers would be able to issue a stop-work order to an employer with multiple worksites.
  • When a stop-work or stop-use order is issued, workers would continue to be paid their normal pay and benefits.
  • Sale, rental, lease or transfer of equipment would be prohibited in the event of a stop-use order.
  • Officers would only be able to enter a private dwelling that is a worksite with the owner’s consent or a court warrant.
  • Suppliers would be prohibited from supplying any substance or material that does not comply with the legislation.

Appeals process overhauled

The OHS appeals processes require modernization, streamlining and better alignment.

  • Certain types of OHS officer orders and decisions could be submitted to an OHS director for review. The director could:
    • confirm, vary or revoke the order or decision
    • issue a new order
    • refer the matter to the appeal body
  • The OHS director review would apply to:
    • refusals to do dangerous work
    • orders to remedy unhealthy or unsafe work conditions
    • stop-work orders/stop-use orders
  • Responsibility for other OHS appeals would be shifted to the Alberta Labour Relations Board to streamline processes and create efficiencies. These would include:
    • discriminatory action complaints
    • cancellation of a licence
    • administrative penalties
  • The process for hearing appeals would be modified to align with current practices used by the Alberta Labour Relations Board.
  • Transitional appeal requirements would be added to allow for appeals submitted before changes to the act come into place.

Offences and penalties

The types of offences will be expanded (for example, to include not reporting a reportable injury or incident) and more options will be provided for creative sentencing.

  • Fines and penalties would remain unchanged.
  • Creative sentencing requirements would be expanded by providing the court with additional powers to direct how penalties could be used and provide more oversight. These powers would include:
    • directing offenders to pay into training regarding health and safety
    • research on preventative medicine
    • any creative remedy order the court felt appropriate

Information collection and exchange

Changes will provide greater opportunities for government to acquire and share information to help with prevention efforts for workplace illness and injury.

  • Alberta Labour would be allowed to share data with other government bodies, agencies and external organizations beyond the WCB-Alberta.
  • More information about employers would be published at regular intervals. Expanded information would include:
    • orders issued
    • tickets issued to employers (but not workers)
    • investigation reports completed by an officer
    • acceptances issued
    • approvals issued
  • WCB-funded health and safety associations would be required to submit a report to government each year for review. Government could make recommendations on the effectiveness of the association’s OHS efforts.
  • Government would be able to designate organizations and programs to promote OHS in Alberta.

Duties of the government

Roles, responsibilities and authorities of government for OHS will be clearly articulated.

  • Government would be concerned with OHS generally and maintaining reasonable standards to protect workplace health and safety.
  • The OHS Act would have to be reviewed every 5 years.
  • A plan for the review of any OHS regulations and the OHS Code would be published every 3 years.
  • The minister must consult with workers and employers, and can recommend changes to OHS legislation.
  • Ensure OHS statistics are maintained and published.

Alberta Proposed WCB Changes 2017

Several changes have happened in Alberta in the past two years, and another change to safety is coming in what is being called a major overhaul of the current WCB program.  This includes the change that workers will be given the right to refuse unsafe work without loss of pay as some believe that the system has been tipped in the employer’s favour for too long.

 

Other changes listed from an article from CBC news in Bill 30 include:

  • An end to the $98,700 cap on insurable earnings for workers compensation benefits. That means people who earn more than that amount would receive benefits based on their current income.
  • Workers would still get paid even if a stop work order is imposed on their worksite. The government hopes this would encourage more people to report unsafe conditions.
  • Employers and supervisors would be required to take measures to prevent harassment and violence in the workplace. Workers would be prohibited from engaging in harassing, bullying or violent behaviour.
  • Spouses of workers killed on the job would be treated equally. All would receive benefits for five years. Spouses with children would receive benefits until the youngest child is 18, or 25, if that child is in college or university.
  • The government would create an independent Fair Practices Office to guide injured workers through the WCB system and provide support.
  • Larger workplaces, those with 20 or more workers, would have to create a joint work health and safety committee. Sites with five to 19 workers would need to designate a health and safety representative. These provisions apply to projects lasting 90 days or more. Alberta would be the last province to make these committees mandatory
  • Workplaces would have to report “near-miss’ incidents that could have killed or seriously injured someone.

Links to find out more about the changes that could be coming:

What is Energy Safety Canada?

Energy Safety Canada

Have you heard of Energy Safety Canada? If not you are not alone!  On October 18, 2017, a merger of Enform Canada and Oil Sands Safety Association created the new Energy Safety Canada with a goal of bringing the best associations to accelerate improvements in safe work performance.

“A key objective of Energy Safety Canada is to facilitate the collaboration that’s required across all of our industry sectors to standardize and simplify and create best-in-class safety training and services,” says Murray Elliott, President of Energy Safety Canada. “In the coming months we will be reviewing and launching initiatives but, in the meantime, business continues as usual. Nothing has changed for workers or companies – whether it’s Enform or OSSA training certifications, safety audits, or other services.”

The new website can be found at www.energysafetycanada.com

ACSA COR Auditor Requirements

As of May 4, 2017, ACSA has decided to opt out of the pilot program for its members that held COR.  This process used to allow companies to OPT out of maintaining COR status by having a safety auditor on staff. The article below was taken off of the ACSA website.

Are you aware of your COR Auditor Requirements?

In 2014, we introduced a temporary pilot program to our members who held a Certificate of Recognition (COR) with our association. This briefly provided these companies with the option of maintaining their COR status, while not having a certified auditor on staff.

We have now reached the conclusion of one full three year COR cycle since this pilot launch, and have assessed the results of this initiative. We found there was not a great deal of member uptake on this option, and from those who did participate, the results and feedback were not largely positive. Companies have reported struggles in maintaining their Health & Safety Management Systems in the absence of a certified auditor on staff. In addition to the reported challenges in staying on top of updates and changes, we have also received reports from companies feeling the pinch from the additional costs involved in hiring auditors rather than using their own staff for maintenance years. As a result of these and similar findings, we have determined it is in the best interest of our members to discontinue this pilot program.

The health and safety of Albertans remains foremost in our thinking as we evaluate these systems as part of our Partnerships in Injury Reduction programming, and continue to believe we best protect our workers when we have well-trained resources available in each member company.

All companies participating in the COR program will again require a full time staff member to maintain auditor certification. We want to ensure our COR member companies continue to be aware of their requirements in maintaining certification, and that we continue to meet our Certifying Partner standards. We are here to help ensure success for us all. We realize there may be a period of time in which you may require our assistance in returning to pre-2014 standards, and together we will make this transition as seamless as possible.

Your ACSA website fully lists the COR requirements that your company will need to meet in order to maintain its COR. This specific auditor requirement means that you will need to have a full time member of staff certified as an auditor. This simply requires that person complete the three day Auditor Training Program (ATP) and conduct a self-qualification audit. This allows your company to participate in the COR Program and enables your auditor to perform your company’s internal audits—which maintains your COR and their Auditor Status.

We will continue to explore creative COR maintenance options—such as the recent launch of the Action Plan—which proved beneficial for many companies, and has become a permanent option. No matter where you are in your COR cycle, our friendly Client Services team is here to answer any of your inquiries, and rest assured we will work closely with you on a case by case basis to ensure we meet all of your important COR requirements. We’re here to help! Call or email us at 1.800.661.ACSA (2272) or at cor@youracsa.ca.

Opt Out of the ACSA Peer Auditing Process – EDITED

NOTE: As of May 4, 2017, ACSA has decided to remove this program.

Did you know that it is possible to opt out of the peer auditing process with ACSA and use and external consultant auditor for both internal and external audits?  As of January 1, 2015, changes to the SECOR and COR programs through the ACSA stated that a company would no longer be required to staff a full-time employee to complete yearly maintenance audits. This information was published in the ACSA Advisor magazine back in Winter 2014, volume 26, issue 4.   Continue reading “Opt Out of the ACSA Peer Auditing Process – EDITED” »

Safety Program – Build In-house or Buy

If your company has decided to implement, revise, or update a safety system, you are frequently faced with whether it should be created in-house, or by a third party safety consulting company. With this decision a business owners need to look at its organizational and decide if building an in-house system would be better than what’s available in the market.

Building a complete and effective health and safety program for your company can be a complex process. Some key things your company should evaluate when to build vs. buy are; time, price, long-run support, and trial and error.  We look at these a little more in depth below:

  • Time, Price and Resources – What is the timeline that you need a safety program completed in for your company. Building a health and safety program from scratch is a time-consuming You need to ask yourself if you have the manpower and knowledge within the organization to complete a full health and safety program within the allotted time.
  • Will an in-house program grow with your organization and support you in the long run? When an organization grows, it’s important that the safety system grows with it. Even though the program might work well for you today, will it fit your business after future growth? If your company is moving from a SECOR to a COR or switching certifying partners, does your company understand how to make this transition smoothly.
  • Trial and Error – When creating your health and safety program it may be hard to define what works compared to what works well. This trial and error period could take months of trying different techniques to find what fits your company, which in turn means more money out of your pocket. An in-house system may not adhere to legislative requirements and can quickly become a burdensome task. By analyzing your company’s needs, a third party vendor will be able to provide you with a program that’s built solely around your needs and wants. If you are not confident in performing safety analysis on tasks, hazards and controls it if often best to consult with a third party safety consulting company.

If your company does not have the adequate support or knowledge to bring an effective health and safety program to life, On-Track Safety Solutions can help you from start to finish with this problem. Call our office at 800-440-6650 or email at info@on-tracksafety.com for more information on safety program development and safety program implementation.

How to Create a Formal Hazard Assessment

There are two levels of hazard assessment:

  • Formal hazard assessment
  • Field-level hazard assessment

Formal Hazard Assessment are the foundation of safety program and involve:

  • identification of all jobs and tasks performed by employees,
  • assessment of each task for hazards,
  • prioritization of the hazards based on the level of risk,
  • implementation of controls for the identified hazards

 

Steps for Conducting a Formal Hazard Assessment

  1. Create an inventory of jobs and tasks – The first step of formal hazard assessment is to create a list of all jobs within the scope of your companies business, and record the number of workers that perform each job. Then, list all the tasks performed as part of each job identified.

 

  1. Identify and assess hazards – Each task needs to be assessed to determine the potential hazards and associated risk.  Workers who perform the tasks should be involved in this process to ensure nothing is overlooked. After the hazards are identified, calculate their risk ratings by asking the following questions:
  • What are the consequences if the hazards are not controlled?
  • What is the probability of an incident occurring?
  • What is the frequency of exposure to the hazard?

 

  1. Prioritize hazards- Using the information created so far, determine the overall risk rating for each task, and rank the tasks in order of priority, based on the level of risk.  Sort the tasks from high risk to low risk, and this will give you a critical task list.

 

  1. Determine controls- Address identified hazards by assigning methods of control to eliminate or reduce the hazard. Elimination, engineering, administrative, PPE or a combination of controls can be used for each identified hazard.

 

  1. Review hazard assessments- Formal hazard assessments should be dated and subject to a regular review schedule to prevent the development of conditions that may put workers at risk. These reviews should take place annually (at a minimum), or anytime a new process is introduced, a change is made to the operation, or a significant addition or alteration is made to a work site.

On-Track Safety can help your company with the creation of a formal hazard assessment that will meet government and partnership requirements.  Call our office at 800-440-6650 for more information.

References:

 

Important Information for ACSA Members

ACSA associate member changes 2015

On March 4th, 2015 ACSA posted an update on their website for all associate members in regards to renewals on their account.  The statement posted by ACSA is as follows:

To further assist our members and clients, ACSA has changed its process for Associate Membership renewals. ACSA will no longer be sending out renewal reminders including invoices to renew Associate Membership. Companies who are seeking services from the ACSA (ie: Training, COR/SECOR) and their Associate Membership has expired will need to purchase an Associate Membership before any services will be provided. If you have any further questions, please contact client services within regular business hours 1-800-661-2272.

Enform SECOR Changes

enform SECOR changes 2015

Enform has launched a new protocol for SECOR submissions this year. Changes include new supporting forms with the submission; a requirement for written notes by the Assessor for the audit questions; the ability to upload/submit the SECOR online to Enform for review; and the necessity to complete the audit by electronic means. For more information regarding these changes, please contact our On-Track Safety office at 1-800-440-6650 or visit the Enform website http://www.enform.ca/safety_audits_certification/secor-protocol.aspx

Alberta FarmSafe Plan

alberta-farm-safeMembers of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development’s farm safety team have been working with the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) to develop the Alberta FarmSafe Plan. The plan is a resource to help farmers develop health and safety systems specific to their individual operations.

The idea behind this program, and what makes it different from other health and safety planning tools, is that it will be adaptable and easily applied to all sectors of the agriculture industry.

In addition to creating a safer work environment, the Alberta FarmSafe Plan complies with criteria for the Alberta Partnerships in Injury Prevention Certificate of Recognition (COR). A completed FarmSafe Plan will provide farmers with all the necessary criteria to obtain their COR if they so choose. With their COR farmers are eligible for rebates through the Workers’ Compensation Board of Alberta. The manual is expected to be available for Alberta farmers later this spring.

Anyone interested in participating in the second phase Alberta FarmSafe Plan pilot can visit www.agriculture.alberta.ca/farmsafety

A Word From The Owner

At On-Track Safety Solutions Ltd. we are committed to a safe and healthy workplace for everyone – our employees, customers, and subcontractors. Our success is directly related to our dedication to safety and quality.

We continually train our workforce to ensure safe and successful projects. We take pride in the fact that our zero injury goal continues to be met, providing our customers with confidence in our safety and services.

Diana Rude
President/Owner
On-Track Safety Solutions Ltd.

Call Now: (800) 440-6650
(403) 986-3811

Copyright © 2018 www.albertacor.com. All Rights Reserved.  WordPress Plugins