You are an employer if you meet any of these conditions:
- You employ or engage one or more workers, including workers from a temporary staffing agency.
- You are designated to represent an employer.
- You are responsible for overseeing workers' health and safety for your corporation or employer.
- You employ waged, non-family workers in a farm and ranch operation.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act, Regulation and Code outlines many of the workplace health and safety responsibilities of an employer, and obligations that you, as the employer, must meet. Find more information on the
Government of Alberta website.
Here are just a few of your responsibilities as an employer
Make sure that your crew is aware of their rights
It's your responsibility to make your crew
aware of their rights and responsibilities under Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation and of any workplace health and safety issues. Workers have three fundamental rights under the
Occupational Health and Safety Act:
The Right to Know
The Right to Participate
The Right to Refuse Unsafe Work
Learn more about the rights of your workers by reviewing Alberta's
Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Provide health and safety information
Workplace health and safety employer responsibilities include providing health and safety information to your employees. This is information that may affect the health and safety of a person on your worksite. It includes information about hazards on the site, hazard controls and work practices and procedures.
Health and safety information doesn't include personal information about identifiable individuals, confidential proprietary information or trade secrets.
Ensure that everyone on your worksite is properly trained
It's up to you to make sure workers have the skills and training to do their jobs safely. You must make sure that they're appropriately trained in work practices and procedures, how to safely use equipment and how to select and use personal protective equipment and safety equipment that they require.
You're also responsible for making sure that their supervisors are competent and familiar with relevant OHS legislation that applies to the work performed. If a prime contractor is required on your worksite, you must provide them with the names of all the supervisors.
Quickly resolve health and safety concerns
If health or safety concerns arise on your worksite, it's your job to work with a joint worksite health and safety committee (HSC) or a health and safety (HS) representative to resolve issues in a timely manner.
Consequences of ignoring health and safety
Your crew depends on you to provide a safe work environment. An injured employee or worse, a fatality, is too high a price to pay for a preventable incident. In addition to the life-changing circumstances for that employee and his or her family, the rest of your crew will be impacted by the experience.
In addition to this human cost, there are financial impacts you can avoid by providing a safe workplace:
- A power line strike causes damage to equipment and property.
- The Province of Alberta can fine negligent employers up to $10,000/day for failing to properly assess and deal with potential hazards, and protect the health and safety of their crew.
- If an Occupational Health and Safety officer observes unsafe work conditions on your site, they may issue a Stop Work Order. These orders take effect immediately and may last for hours or even days, resulting in lost productivity.
- If your work site is shut down for any length of time, you may not be able to meet your contractual obligations, which possibly results in penalties.
- Workplace injuries can affect your Workers' Compensation Board premiums.
- If one of your employees hits a power line, your company could be responsible for the costs associated with covering interruption of essential services, such as utilities and emergency response services.