Understanding the Legislation
Alberta's occupational health and safety legislation came into effect July 1, 2009. The government department responsible for occupational health and safety is Human Services. Within that department is OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY which is responsible for administering the occupational health and safety legislation. Links to Alberta Occupational Health and Safety legislation may be found at the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety website. The Act, the Regulations, the Code and the Code Explanation Guide may all be found at this site.
General obligations are contained in the Act and in the Regulations and more specific requirements are contained in the Code. All are legally binding.
Selected Code Quick Links
Chemical hazards, Biological hazards and Harmful Substances
Lifting and Handling Loads
Personal Protective Equipment (Respiratory Protection)
The Alberta OH&S Code defines "Violence" as "whether at a work site or work related, means the threatened, attempted or actual conduct of a person that causes or is likely to cause physical injury." It may be necessary to use Employer policies or Collective Agreement requirements to supplement this definition.
Working Alone is only a hazard under Alberta law if it meets the definition in the Code. A person is considered to be working alone, and the protections in this Part apply, if the person is working alone and "assistance is not readily available if there is an emergency or the worker is injured or ill." Many health-care workers, whether they work in institutions or in the community, do work alone. Ensuring their protection, as the law requires, should be a major concern for HSAA members and their OH&S representatives.
Health Care and Industries with Biological Hazards
Note: This section was new on April 1, 2004 and contains a prohibition against recapping waste needles. Nevertheless, needlestick injuries due to recapping continue to occur. During a long consultation process, HSAA Labour Relations Officer, Doug Fischer lobbied hard to ensure this requirement was added to the Code!