Brokers need to be aware of key changes the Government of Alberta made in June 2018 to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Under the new Act:
- brokerages that employ 20 or more people must have an established health and safety committee
- brokerages that employ five to 19 people must have an appointed health and safety representative
- independent contractors such as the industry professionals in your brokerage count towards the employee total
- each work “site” with the number of employees listed above must have its own committee or representative, so if your brokerage has multiple offices, you may need multiple committees or representatives
The Role of the Committee or Representative
This committee/representative is responsible for:
- addressing concerns and complaints about the health and safety of workers
- identifying and clearly communicating worksite hazards to workers or other persons
- developing, promoting and evaluating measures to protect the health and safety of all employees
- cooperating with Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Officers exercising duties under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Regulations, and the Code
- developing and promoting programs for education and information concerning health and safety
- making recommendations to the broker respecting the health and safety of workers
- investigating serious injuries and incidents at the worksite
- maintaining records on concerns and complaints received
- attending other matters relating to the duties of the committee/representative
- performing additional duties as may be specified in the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Regulations and Code
Brokerages must review these mandated elements every three years.
The role of the committee/representative is to advise and assist, and not assume managerial responsibilities for health and safety in the workplace.
If your brokerage requires a committee, it must be made up of employees and management. The employees must choose how they will select their own members to the committee.
New Types of Occupational Hazards
Harassment and violence in all forms, including domestic and sexual violence, are now defined as workplace hazards. Under the new rules, employers must develop workplace harassment and violence prevention plans and address incidents when they do occur.
It is important for brokerages to understand and comply with the new OHS requirements.
Read more about Alberta’s occupational health and safety requirements online.