On October 1, 2013, amendments to Alberta's Occupational
Health and Safety Regulation (Regulation) come into force.
 In this post, we bring you the highlights.
Legislation must be Available to Workers
Employers will now be required to ensure that
current paper or downloaded electronic copies of
the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Regulation,
and the Occupational Health and Safety Code are readily
available for reference by workers. The amendments do not
specify that this legislation must be physically available at the
work site, only that it must be readily available for
Unsafe or Harmful Conditions at the Work Site
Under the current Regulation, workers are required to
immediately report to the employer when there is problem with
equipment (obvious defect, not strong enough for its purpose, will
not perform intended function, or its condition will compromise the
health and safety or workers using or transporting it).
The amended Regulation will now also require workers to
immediately report to their employer if they "believe an
unsafe or harmful work site condition or act exists". When
workers make a report under this section, employers will have to
"review the situation and take any necessary corrective action
in a timely manner".
Expanded Definition of a "Hazardous Work Site"
A "hazardous work site" was previously defined in
section 5 of the Regulation as a "restricted area and a
blasting area". Now, it will be defined as "a
blasting area and an area of a work site where there is a
reasonable chance that the airborne concentration of asbestos,
silica, coal dust or lead exceeds or may exceed
the occupational exposure limit for one or more of the substances
under an adopted code."
Expanded List of Notifiable Diseases
Every kind of asbestos-induced cancer will now constitute a
notifiable disease, rather than only certain types. "Lead
poisoning", as such, will no longer be a notifiable disease.
Instead, an "elevated blood lead level, that is, a
worker's blood lead level greater than 0.5 micromoles per
litre" will be a notifiable disease.
Suspension and Cancellation of Blasters' Permits and Mining
Certificates: Director's Increased Discretion
The amendments will harmonize the suspension and cancellation
rules for non-mining blasters' permits and the mining
certification program. Specifically, the Director of Inspection
will now be empowered to cancel or suspend a blaster's permit
or mining certificate for 72 hours "if there is reason to
believe that its holder has done or has failed to do anything that,
in the Director's opinion, warrants the cancellation or
suspension". The Director of Inspection may, "for
any reason", reassess the competency of the holder of a
blaster's permit or mining certificate, or require any
specified training to be undertaken, or both.
The landscape for occupational health and safety law in Alberta
has undergone significant changes this year. Stay posted for
further updates from Bennett Jones LLP.
 See Order in Council 305/2013 (September 25, 2013) and the
Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Regulation,
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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