Alberta Government Announces Amendments to OHS Code

  • OHSA
Michelle Ann Zoleta

Michelle Ann Zoleta, Health & Safety Team Manager

(Last updated )

The Alberta government recently introduced legislation that will amend its Occupational Health and Safety Code, which will take effect March 31, 2023.

The changes brought on by this Amendment will affect employers’ health and safety obligations. Some notable changes that you should be aware of include:

First Aid

First aid kits will have to meet the new CSA Standard Z1210-17. This change will require employers to either supplement existing kits with new items or purchase new kits. Prime contractors or employers must also now record all illnesses or injuries for which first aid is provided.

It is important to note that workplace first aiders are not required to get new certificates or complete new first aid training before their valid first aid certificate’s expiry date.

Emergency Transportation Plan

A prime contractor (or employer, if there is no prime contractor) now must develop an emergency transportation plan which should:

  • ensure the workers’ health and safety are protected during transport to a healthcare facility
  • be suitable for illness or injuries that may occur at the site with consideration for the distance to be travelled
  • unless there are three or fewer workers at the work site, the prime contractor or employer must ensure ill or injured workers are accompanied by a first aider during emergency transport
  • allow for communication between workers and healthcare facilities during transportation.

PPE Standards

Personal protective equipment that previously had to meet a technical standard if manufactured on or after July 1, 2009 will have to meet the updated standard if manufactured on or after March 31, 2023. Employers do not need to purchase new PPE if its current equipment meets the standard that was in place at the time of its manufacture and otherwise remains in good working order.

Noise Exposure

The threshold for conducting a noise exposure assessment is to be reduced from 85 to 82 decibels. Employers will be required to ensure that hearing protection devices used and worn by workers have been fit-tested in accordance with updated standards (CSA Standard Z94.2-14 [R2019], Hearing Protection Devices – Performance, Selection, Care, and Use).

Oil and Gas Wells

New obligations include a requirement for an employer or prime contractor to provide a site-specific orientation to a worker before that worker comes onto the work site for the first time. Requirements for the orientation will be outlined in the new provision.

Additional changes that will affect parts of the Code include:

  • explosives
  • mining
  • overhead powerline and electrical utility workers
  • confined spaces
  • control of hazardous energy
  • cranes, hoists, and lifting devices
  • scaffolds and temporary work platforms

Do you have questions about the changes to the Alberta OHS Code?

 Figuring out exactly what your obligations are as an employer can be challenging. To receive assistance on how to stay compliant and up-to-date with local health and safety laws, call an expert today at 1 (833) 247-3652

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