Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
Alberta, the target of recent criticism over oh&s enforcement, has adopted a 10-point plan to enhance workplace health and safety compliance, planning and education.
On July 30, 2010, employment and immigration minister Thomas Lukaszuk announced that the province plans to beef up accountability and “will implement 10 initiatives that will ensure Albertans can continue to have confidence in the health and safety of their workplaces, and address recommendations from the Office of the Auditor General.”
An earlier review by the auditor general found that “a small but high-risk group of employers consistently fail to comply with oh&s orders, often despite numerous re-inspections.” It was further noted that “half of those employers also continue to hold a valid Certificate of Recognition (COR), and continue to have elevated injury rates among their workers.”
The plan includes the following:
• adopting updated compliance and enforcement procedures;
• posting oh&s records of most Alberta WCB-insured employers online; and,
• revising the employer review process for companies with CORs and poor safety performance.
“Let this serve as official notice for any Alberta company that doesn’t want to play by the rules,” says Lukaszuk.
AEI spokesperson Chris Chodan says a committee is already working on the COR initiative. “It will be tightening up what happens if you have significant incidents — if there’s injuries or fatalities,” Chodan says. “Right now, there are some companies that have more than one serious incident and still have a COR.”
Robin Kotyk, chief operating officer of the Alberta Construction Safety Association in Edmonton, says posting oh&s records online “is something that would help people to be able to look at companies before they work for them.”
But AFL president Gil McGowan says there should be fuller details of a company’s oh&s violations posted online.
At the end of August, AEI released a template of what employer information will be accessible. Details about an individual employer’s history will include if the company holds a COR, the number of fatalities and lost-time claims, the lost-time claim rate, and industry-and province-wide lost-time claims.
This was their chance to improve health and safety for the province of Alberta. The proof is in the pudding however. They still rank as one of the worst provinces in occupational health and safety! Enforcement is a joke! The enforcement divisions MUST answer to higher authorities (or maybe they do already) What are they worried about, companies leaving Alberta? I do not think so.
I truly believe the government of Alberta’s enforcement division needs to acquire new people with fresh ideas at the top with a new direction of ‘zero tolerance’ driven from the top and the message filtered effectively all the way down. Only then can we say that Alberta is a leader in health and safety. No one is held to the higher standards as shown in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec. Even the province of Saskatchewan is making huge strides in this area.
Remember – Alberta Health and Safety – An Oxymoron!
Remember – In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.