by Morinville News Staff
New rules for workplace harassment and violence as well as joint worksite health and safety committees are underway, and the province is asking Albertans to take part in the discussion.
The government says the new Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act takes steps to protect workers from harassment and violence in all its forms. It also requires joint worksite health and safety committees or a worker health and safety representative, depending on workforce size.
“Creating a culture that prioritizes health and safety strengthens workplaces and our economy,” said Christina Gray, Minister of Labour, in a release Monday. “When workers feel protected, morale and productivity improve. I encourage everyone to share their views on how to make these new requirements work for all Albertans.”
The new OHS Act, kicking in June 1, will define harassment and violence in all its forms, including sexual and domestic violence. The Act will require employers and supervisors to take reasonable steps to protect workers from harassment and violence and to investigate incidents. Additionally, the Act will require workers to refrain from causing or participating in harassment and violence, have an appeal process for workers disciplined for bringing harassment and violence issues forward, and require joint worksite health and safety committees for work sites with 20 or more workers. Worksites with five to 19 workers will require a worker health and safety representative. Employers and prime contractors will be required to work with joint worksite health and safety committees or representatives.
Albertans have until Apr. 9 to provide written submissions. Details on doing so can be found at www.alberta.ca/ohs-regulations-consultation.aspx.