Dear Working Wise:
My son works for a small construction company. It’s frustrating to hear that he works in unsafe conditions at times, without proper equipment, supervision and training. Who is responsible for ensuring his safety? Signed, Worried
Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Your son is responsible for working safely, helping keep the workplace safe and watching out for co-workers.
Employers must comply with the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act, Regulation and Code, including:
- Keeping equipment in safe working order;
- Properly labelling and storing dangerous chemicals;
- Informing their workers of any dangers on the job site;
- Developing safe work procedures and ensuring workers follow them;
- Ensuring workers perform their duties as required by the OHS legislation;
- Arranging for medical assessments for workers exposed to specific hazards.
- Monitoring workers who may be exposed to hazards such as chemicals or noise;
- Ensuring workers have the training and experience needed to do their jobs safely.
- Take reasonable care to keep themselves and co-workers safe;
- Wear personal protective equipment required by their employer;
- Take and follow health and safety training provided by their employer;
- Follow health and safety work procedures developed by their employer;
- Refuse work that may put them or another worker in “imminent danger”;
- Report unsafe or malfunctioning equipment to the employer immediately;
- Avoid tasks they are not competent to do unless they are being supervised.
Reporting workplace injuries to WCB-Alberta
For employees working in workplaces covered by workers’ compensation, there are separate requirements for reporting injuries to the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB). These requirements are covered under the Workers’ Compensation Act, which is different from the OHS legislation. For more information and access to WCB publications and forms, go to: www.wcb.ab.ca
The Government of Alberta promotes safe and healthy workplaces in a number of ways, including:
· Leading Work Safe Alberta: a strategy to strengthen and expand partnerships amongst employers, workers and government to make our workplaces safer;
· Partnering with safety associations, industry groups, employers, educational institutions and labour organizations;
· Recognizing employers who have developed a health and safety management system and met established standards with a Certificate of Recognition.
· Enforcing the OHS Act, Regulation and Code through inspections, investigations and prosecutions;
· Publishing OHS statistics;
· Supporting North American Occupational Safety and Health Week (NAOSH), May 5- 11, 2013; and
· Educating employers and workers through free online training and public awareness campaigns, including: Before It’s an Injury, Bloody Lucky, etc.
If your son has a concern about safety at work, he should raise it with his supervisor. If his concern is not taken safely, he can call Alberta Occupational Health and Safety, toll-free, at 1-866-415-8690 for advice and information.
For more information and tips on safe and healthy workplaces, visit http://humanservices.alberta.ca/ohs.
Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information.