Depending how plugged-in you are to what’s happening in our legislature, you may or may not have heard of the changes to Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act that were recently brought into effect with Bill 30. The Bill brings updates to the Workers Compensation Board and OHS standards in Alberta, which went into effect January 1, 2018. Changes in legislation can naturally seem daunting, and we’ll be the first to agree that investing in health and safety is no small task. But the way we see it, OHS is not only about keeping our crew, vendors, and guests safe on-site, it’s also about advancing our industry together. As the events industry continues to grow and attract attention, we can likely expect more standardizing legislation from our provincial and national governments. As event professionals, we like to think of this attention on our industry as a good thing.
As with most things in life, it’s worth it to be proactive. By investing in our health and safety program over the past three years, we were happy to find that the changes in Bill 30 were already part of our system. Let’s use the changes as an opportunity to start a conversation about how we can lead our industry into the future, steel toes first.
Some key relevant changes
A legislative bill is typically a pretty long, dry document and we won’t run through everything here by any means (but if long, dry documents are your thing, you can find the Bill in its entirety here). However, some of the key changes have to do with worker health and safety on a job site – like a crew setting up and striking events, for example. Here are few changes that you might want to know about:
- Employers or prime contractors will be required to establish a Joint Work Site Health and Safety Committee (JWSHSC) and Representative for a workplace or project with 20 or more workers
- Any employer with 20 or more workers is required to establish a health and safety program in consultation with JWSHSC and implement the program
- Worker health and safety representative required for workplace or project with 5 to 19 workers
- A stop work order may be issued on multiple work sites of an employer, not just the specific site where an OHS officer determines there is a danger to health and safety
Health and safety at OneWest
So what have we been doing all this time, and how have we managed to get ahead of these changes? Glad you asked, and happy to share!
- Every single project we work on includes a detailed Health and Safety Plan, and the Plan is provided to everyone involved. In it, we outline potential hazards and provide solutions for managing these risks. So whether we’re lifting guests 135 feet into the air for a skyline selfie op or setting up dinner for 1700, we’ve dotted every i and crossed every t to make sure that our guests, crew, vendors, and everyone else are as safe as possible.
- We have a Workplace Safety Certificate of Recognition (COR), which means that our entire team is always up-to-date with policy changes and certifications relating to safety.
- We always have a team member onsite who is in charge of health and safety, and everyone on our crew has been trained in safety procedures and is familiar with the Health and Safety Plan. Like we said – we take this stuff very seriously.
- Our Systems Analyst, Gillian, has been hard at work recently on streamlining our health and safety program to make it even more efficient, and even more effective. She’s been going through each document and process with a fine-toothed comb to make sure our processes, checklists, forms, and more are as great as they can be, and our job sites safer than ever before.
Get started by downloading our JHA form
You might have a pretty good handle on health and safety yourself, or the recent changes may have left you feeling a little scrambled, or this might be something that really wasn’t on your radar at all – either way, in the interests of sharing, we’ve made our Job Hazard Assessment form available here for you to download. This can be a helpful starting point if you’re new to health and safety planning, or it may just show you another side to what we do, giving you a snapshot of one of the many ways that we cover our bases on every job site. If you have questions or want to pick our brains about OHS, you can even email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our industry changes rapidly and constantly, sometimes from the inside and sometimes as a result of external factors like new legislation. We didn’t get into this business to sit still, so that’s ok with us. It’s all part of what makes our jobs and our lives so interesting and so rich – take a look at what some other event profs are feeling these days and you’ll see what we mean.