Thursday, 28 September 2017 07:06

Review is in the works to delve deeper into the current OHS Act

Written by  Demi Knight
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The Government of Alberta has officially launched a review of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act currently in operation in Alberta with hopes to better protect residents from work-risk related injuries.

Since the province’s OHS Act has only had minor changes and received no official review since 1976, it appears some regulations may be outdated in today’s ever-changing work-force and environment.
Minister of Labour, Christina Gray says it’s important to make certain the act currently in place can protect all Albertans in their every-day work.
“We need to make sure the province’s laws and best practices are helping keep Albertans safe at work.”
With the many evolving industries in the modern day, it has become cause for concern that several occupational health and safety procedures may be outdated.
However, the new review has been brought into effect to assess the current system as well as examine the aspects within the OHS Act regarding compliance, enforcement, education, engagement and prevention.
As well, the review will work to better clarify employer and employee responsibilities, improve workforce engagement and maintain injury and illness prevention.
“How can we improve health and safety on Alberta work sites? Are there changes we can make to our OHS system that would reduce illnesses, injuries and deaths and keep workers on the job? How can we modernize our system so it reflects today’s workers and workplaces? These are questions we hope to answer in our review of Alberta’s OHS system,” says Gray of some of the focus points the review will work to examine.
With 144 workplace fatality claims made to the Worker’s Compensation Board last year alone and many more claims for compensation from work-related injuries and illness, it has become clear to the government that now would be a good time to go through the current act with a fine-tooth comb to ensure optimal safety for all Albertans whilst at work.
However, it’s not just the government looking to delve into the act, but they are also asking the public to get involved with the review and voice their own opinions on what changes could be made to update the official OHS Act. Written submissions are being accepted until Oct. 16 with suggestions on the current OHS Act
as well as an online survey is being offered to all members of the public who wish to participate in the discussion.
Roundtable sessions with employees, employers, academics and health and safety associates are also in the works this year to gather as much information during this review as possible.
“All workers deserve healthy and safe workplaces from their first shift through to retirement. Alberta workplaces and the nature of Albertans’ work have changed significantly during the past 40 years,” adds Gray.

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