Health and Safety Training in Alberta: A Guide for Employers 

  • Health & Safety
Health and safety training in Alberta
Michelle Ann Zoleta

Michelle Ann Zoleta, Health & Safety Team Manager

(Last updated )

Workplace health and safety training is not just a legal requirement; it's an essential investment in your employees' well-being and the long-term success of your business. Under the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act, employers are required to provide their staff with mandatory health and safety training so they can deal with any potential risks and hazards they encounter in the workplace.

Here is an overview of what employers should know about providing health and safety training in the workplace:

Mandatory health and safety training in Alberta

Alberta's OHS Act outlines specific areas where mandatory training is needed. These include joint health and safety committee training, hazard assessment and control, use of personal protective equipment, emergency response procedures, and workplace violence prevention. Training should be tailored to each employee's role and the hazards they might encounter.

Employers’ responsibility under the OHS Act

Employers in Alberta have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their workers in the workplace. Under the OHS Act, they must:  

  • Ensure workers have the skills and training needed to do their jobs safely.
  • Provide competent supervisors.
  • Prevent violence and harassment in the workplace.
  • Inform workers of all the health and safety hazards at the job site.
  • Set up safe work practices and ensure these practices are followed.
  • Provide safety equipment and training.
  • Properly labelling and storing dangerous chemicals.
  • Investigate serious injuries and incidents.
  • Investigate potentially serious incidents (PSI).
  • Work with the health and safety committee or representative.
  • Meet OHS and Employment Standards Code requirements.

Employers are also required to have a joint health and safety committee or health and safety representative in the workplace.

Workplace joint health and safety committee (HSC)

  • Employers with 20 or more employees must have a health and safety committee.
  • Employers with 5-19 employees must appoint a health and safety representative (HS).

Businesses with fewer than five employees are not required to have either in place.

Standard health and safety programs

 Under the Alberta OHS Act, the standard health and safety program includes the following training:

  • Leadership and commitment. 
  • Hazard assessment and control. 
  • Emergency response planning. 
  • Work site inspections. 
  • Competency and training.
  • Worker participation (including health and safety committees or representatives, if applicable). 
  • Incident reporting and investigation. 
  • Obligations to others on site. 
  • Program administration.  

Depending on your workplace, you may also consider including training such as harassment and violence prevention, work refusals, first aid, and workplace hazardous materials information system (WHMIS), or working alone.

Industry-specific health and safety training

 Workers in certain industries are legally required to complete certain OHS-approved training. This includes: 

  • Asbestos worker training.
  • First aid training.
  • Audiometric technician training. 
  • Pulmonary function technician training. 
  • Explosives safety worker training. 

You can find an overview of industry-specific OHS training on the Government of Alberta’s website.

Violence and harassment training 

The OHS Act defines violence and harassment as workplace hazards. Employers are required to help prevent them from happening and address any incident immediately.

The OHS Code also states that employers must: 

  • Define workplace harassment and violence in all forms, including domestic and sexual violence.
  • Investigate incidents of violence and harassment and take corrective action.
  • Develop violence and harassment prevention plans.
  • Review of plans at least once every 3 years.
  • Advise workers of treatment options if harmed by violence or harassment; workers are entitled to wages and benefits while attending treatment programs.

Training for workers

Employers must provide workers with instructions on how to deal with violence and harassment in the workplace. The training should include: 

  • Understanding and recognizing violence and harassment. 
  • An explanation of your company’s workplace violence and harassment policies, procedures, and arrangements. 
  • Proper responses to violence and harassment.
  • The process for reporting, investigating, and documenting instances of violence and harassment. 

Penalties for health and safety noncompliance

When employers fail to comply with Alberta OHS legislation, they can receive a fine known as an administrative penalty. Administrative penalties are issued for serious or repeated instances of OHS noncompliance.

Administrative penalties are determined on a case-by-case basis. However, certain factors affect the size of the fine, such as: 

  • The severity of the contravention.
  • Risk of harm resulting from the contravention.
  • The compliance history of the work site party, including orders, violation tickets, and other interactions with OHS. 
  • Whether there is a demonstrated commitment to health and safety.

Maximum penalty amount

 The maximum amount of an administrative penalty per contravention is $10,000/day. 

Who can receive an administrative penalty? 

Any work site party listed under part one of the Alberta OHS Act can receive an administrative penalty, including:

  • Prime contractors. 
  • Contracting employers.  
  • Employers. 
  • Workers. 
  • Suppliers. 
  • Supervisors.  
  • Service providers.  
  • Owners. 
  • Temporary staffing agencies.  

Do you need help ensuring your workplace is compliant with the Alberta OHS Act?

Peninsula Canada can help ensure your health and safety training is in line with the Alberta Occupational Health & Safety Act and assess your workplace for potential risks. Our award-winning team is ready to assist you with creating workplace policies that protect your business from costly penalties, fines, and lawsuits. Contact us today at 1 (833) 247-3652 to learn more about our services.

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