Consequences of neglecting your OHS responsibilities

Posted On   by AHSA

For well over a year now, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Officers in Alberta have been able to issue tickets to both employers and individual workers for specific violations of OHS legislation. Tickets represent fines of $100 to $500. But it’s only the Construction or Oil & Gas industries that have to worry about tickets, right?

Before you answer, consider that there are 67 ticketable provisions on the books, and while many of them are focused on hazards that would not be found in a downtown office building, restaurant, or even on a ski hill, many of them are applicable almost anywhere. Take for instance the $500 fine an employer may face if he fails to ensure workers have immediate access to emergency wash equipment, or the $200 ticket a worker may receive for working from the top two rungs of a portable ladder. Both workers and employers can also receive sizeable fines for not providing/using sharps containers where they are required to do so.  And any worker caught smoking in the presence of a flammable substance could be subject to a $200 penalty.

But the ticketable provisions are just the tip of the ice berg. No matter what your industry, all work sites are subject to the Occupational Health & Safety Act, Regulation and Code, and employers and workers alike need to be aware of their OHS responsibilities. More than awareness, they need to understand their responsibilities, and act in accordance with the standards that have been put in place for their protection. Determining the ticketable provisions that may apply to your job is a good place to start, but if you haven’t already had a good look at the OHS handbook, you need to do so. Health and safety legislation offers employers and workers alike the basic guidelines for ensuring work progresses safely on their work site. It’s also the standard to which you will be held if the worst should happen, and someone gets hurt.

If we all take the initiative to understand the hazards of our work, and to look out for ourselves and our co-workers, OHS Officers would not have to pull out the ticket book to enforce things like wearing approved eye protection and appropriate footwear. On this Day of Mourning, we ask you to remember the 169 people lost in 2014 to workplace incidents, and consider that every work site contains the potential for harm unless we take action to control the hazards.

For a list of Alberta OHS Ticketable Provisions, click here.

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