OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 2 Hazard Assessment, Elimination and Control

Section 11 Health and safety plan

Written health and safety plans (sometimes referred to as health and safety programs) are only mandatory for those employers and work sites required by the order of a Director of Inspection. A Director of Inspection is a member of the staff of Alberta Human Services, appointed by the Minister under section 5 of the OHS Act. For all other work sites in Alberta, the preparation of a health and safety plan is voluntary. Alberta Human Services encourages all employers to voluntarily participate in the Ministry’s Partnerships program and establish an effective health and safety management system for their work sites.

Work sites throughout the province are routinely inspected or monitored for compliance with OHS legislation by OHS officers. If an employer fails to adequately address health and safety concerns, an officer may recommend to a Director that an order under this section be written, requiring the employer to prepare a written health and safety plan.

The following criteria are used by officers when recommending if an employer should be required to have a health and safety plan:

(a) the employer repeatedly violates the OHS legislation;
(b) the employer fails to comply with orders to correct safety hazards;
(c) workers repeatedly complain about substantive health and safety concerns;
(d) the employer’s lost-time injury claim rate exceeds the average for the employer’s industry group; and
(e) there is evidence of poor communication between the employer and workers on health and safety matters.

Ordering the employer to have a health and safety plan is a way of improving communication between the employer and workers. It is also intended to encourage an awareness of health and safety at the work site.

For more information

Field Level Risk Assessment – Construction Owners Association of Alberta

Prevention and Control of Hazards – Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

Building an Effective Health and Safety Management System
Five steps to risk assessment