The Alberta Government has announced changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Code that will take effect on March 31, 2023. These changes, which were introduced in December 2022, will affect employers’ health and safety obligations in areas such as first aid requirements, transportation of injured or ill workers, and personal protective equipment (PPE) standards.
One significant change is the introduction of a requirement for employers to develop an emergency transportation plan that is suitable for the types of illnesses or injuries that may occur at the work site, includes suitable vehicles, and allows for communication between workers and healthcare facilities during transportation.
Another key change is the updated standards for first aid kits, which may require employers to purchase new kits or supplement existing ones. PPE standards are also being updated, and employers will need to ensure that their equipment meets the new standards if manufactured on or after March 31, 2023.
The Amendment Regulation also includes changes to noise exposure regulations, with the threshold for conducting a noise assessment being lowered to 82 decibels, and the requirement for fit-testing of hearing protection devices.
Employers in the oil and gas industry will also face additional health and safety obligations, including a requirement for a site-specific orientation for workers, emergency response plans, and processes for reporting hazards and addressing undue hazards at the work site.
Other changes will affect areas such as explosives, mining, overhead powerline and electrical utility workers, work in confined spaces, and the control of hazardous energy.
Employers should review their current policies and practices to ensure compliance with these changes.