On June 1, 2018 changes were implemented to the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act. The Act had not been reviewed since 1976, and as such these changes were long overdue. The changes to the Act provide more support for the worker, ultimately clarifying both the employer and workers rights and responsibilities. Highlights of these changes can be found by clicking this link.
One of the new additions to the Act is the requirement to have a joint work site health and safety committee (JHSC). The specifications as indicated in the highlights released by OHS for the committee are as follows:
- Employers with 20 or more workers at a worksite and working for 90 days or more are required to have a JHSC.
- An OHS Director can order any other work site to establish a JHSC.
- Employers with 5-19 workers on a work site and working for 90 days or more are required to have a health and safety representative.
- The Minister of Labour can designate organizations to deliver training for JHSC and representatives
- Guidance on the duties, establishment and functions of JHSC and representatives are added in the OHS code.
The addition of JHSC into the OHS Act is extremely important as it allows workers the opportunity to openly discuss health and safety related questions, issues, etc. amongst their peers. As workers are typically the individuals in the trenches, having their insights regarding what issues they see and what solutions they’d suggest is invaluable.
As the members of the JHSC represent the workers, it is important that they are set up for success. Workers need to understand their duties as a safety representative as well as be empowered to be leaders in safety - both of which can be achieved by training members of the JHSC. Safety training can assist in elevating a workers current knowledge of health and safety, as well as equip them with tools to improve their confidence and leadership skills when identifying or handling a health and safety concern.
SureHire can navigate employers and workers to trusted partners who provide safety training, for more information please contact us here.
If you want to connect, follow us on social media @SureHireTesting and start a conversation using the hashtag #beSure.