Alberta brings in stricter guidelines for health and safety credentials

Employers with workplace accidents or ongoing health and safety concerns risk losing WCB rebates and government projects
|employmentlawtoday.com|Last Updated: 06/03/2011

Effective July 1, Alberta employers who experience on-site fatalities, serious injuries or multiple stop work orders may face an immediate review of their safety accreditation.

Stricter guidelines for companies to keep their Certificate of Recognition (COR) will be put in place. Employers that are not COR holders do not receive annual Partnerships in Injury Reduction (PIR) rebates from the Workers’ Compensation Board - Alberta (WCB) and cannot bid on certain projects.

“Losing a COR is bad for business,” said Thomas Lukaszuk, Minister of Employment and Immigration. “However, Albertans have the right to work in safe and healthy conditions. We’re putting employers on notice: after July 1, we’ll be launching reviews as soon after a workplace incident as possible.”

Changes to the COR program include an employer review process if there is a fatality, serious injury or incident; if two or more stop work orders are issued within a 12 month period; or if ongoing OHS officer activity indicates possible health and safety issues. An employer would not be eligible for PIR rebates when its COR is under review.

If a company has any of these incidents occur, it must develop an action plan focused on making improvements to the workplace. If a second incident happens within two years, the COR holder must conduct an external audit. Failure to develop a satisfactory action plan or pass the audit with a score of at least 80 per cent will result in the company having its COR cancelled. Furthermore, if a COR holder is charged under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the WCB will hold any refunds for that year, pending the outcome of the charges.

In July 2010, Lukaszuk announced a 10-point plan for Occupational Health and Safety to increase employer accountability and transparency. One of these points was to update the COR program. Seven of these 10 initiatives are now complete.

For more information on COR certification, visit employment.alberta.ca/ohs-partnerships.

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