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OHS upping residential inspections as part of province-wide blitz

Posted on July 26, 2016 by Commentator/Courier

Commentator/Courier

Alberta Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) officers will be increasing their safety inspections at residential construction sites throughout the summer, the Alberta Labour Ministry said on July 19. In particular, OHS officers will be increasing inspections on worksites over weekends and other periods outside regular working hours to ensure safety remains a priority throughout the busy construction months.

“Building a new home is an exciting time. Each summer, work ramps up on residential construction sites as crews take advantage of the good weather and longer daylight hours. OHS officers will be out in force to make sure employers and workers are taking their workplace safety responsibilities seriously,” said Christina Gray, Minister of Labour.

Between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016, OHS officers issued 1,605 orders on residential construction worksites. More than half were related to fall protection, a statistic that has remained constant over the past two years.

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association is on-board with the increased inspections, saying safety must be the top priority in the industry.

“The Canadian Home Builders’ Association – Alberta is committed to worker safety. We are helping companies build certified health and safety programs, developing new training courses for the residential construction industry, testing innovative ways to prevent falls and raising awareness among industry members and high school students. We believe the residential inspection program will reinforce the message that we must all strive to make safety the top priority,” said  Jim Rivait, CEO, Canadian Home Builders’ Association – Alberta.

Quick facts

-OHS officers will visit worksites across the province outside regular working hours until the end of September

-Officers have the authority to write orders, including stop work and stop use orders

-Officers can write tickets on the spot if they see non-compliance issues.

Violation Tickets

OHS officers can write tickets for non-compliance with specific sections and specific contraventions of OHS legislation.

OHS tickets, which came into effect on Jan. 1, 2014, use the same form as Alberta traffic tickets. The form describes how to pay or contest the ticket, and gives a court date and location.

Offences and fine amounts

OHS officers can now issue immediate, on-the-spot tickets against employers and workers who put health and safety at risk.

Tickets are issued for easily observable, straightforward non-compliance. For example, a worker who isn’t wearing fall protection required by an employer in compliance with the OHS Code may be ticketed.

Ticket amounts range from $100 to $500 per violation. A 15% victim surcharge is applied to each ticket.

A list of ticketable offences, along with the fine amount can be found online at http://work.alberta.ca/occupational-health-safety/compliance-violation-tickets.html

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