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Workers in Alberta will see dramatic and positive changes to health and safety legislation come into effect on June 1, 2018. With the passage of Bill 30, the Alberta government has overhauled the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the Act) for the first time in over 40 years.

To explain the implications for our members and other workers, CUPE’s National Health and Safety Branch is highlighting some of the changes members can expect to see.

In this edition, we look at the expanded requirements for employers under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Employer obligations

The new Act significantly expands employers’ responsibilities. In the previous Act, the employer’s general obligations, known commonly as the “general duty clause,” stated only that employers had to ensure the health and safety of workers. It indicated that workers were supposed to be aware of their duties and responsibilities.

Under the new code, the general duty clause has been expanded to include the health, safety and welfare of workers and other persons who are in the vicinity of the workplace. Additionally, employers are required to make sure the workers know not just their duties, but also their rights – as well as health and safety issues related to their work.

Training for workers

With the addition of a few words, the Alberta government has increased the amount of information employers must provide. This increases the obligations for employers to train workers on items such as:

  • all hazards in the workplace that may affect them
  • the employers’ policies
  • reporting procedures
  • the process for refusing unsafe work
  • health and safety legislation

Resources and help

CUPE provides many resources for new committees in our Health and Safety Committee Resource Kit.

Do you have additional questions? Contact your CUPE National Staff Representative.