Stricter safety guidelines coming for Alberta employers

Jobsite fatalities, serious injuries or multiple stop work orders will force an immediate review of employers safety accreditation staring July 1, according to new rules introduced by the province Thursday.

The povince will make it harder for companies to keep their safety Certificate of Recognition or COR.

About 9,000 of 160,000 companies in the province hold the certificate which means they have approved safety programs in place.

Those companies however employ more than 40 per cent of Alberta workers.

Employers without the certificate do not receive annual Partnerships in Injury Reduction rebates from the Workers’ Compensation Board - Alberta (WCB) and cannot bid on certain projects, particularly government infrastructure projects, said Employment Minister Thomas Lukaszuk.

“Losing a COR is bad for business,” said Lukaszuk. “However, Albertans have the right to work in safe and healthy conditions."

If a company is placed under review, it must develop an action plan focused on making improvements to the workplace.

The COR program was a good idea, but poorly executed, said Gil McGowan, Alberta Federation of Labour.

"For years now this provincial government has been handing out CORs like they were candy," he said. "Any employer that asked for one got them without having to prove they had a good health and safety program in place."

McGowan pointed out that last year the Auditor General identified 63 employers that persistently failed health-and-safety orders, and that about half of them still held CORs.

CBC News, Thurs Jun 2 2011

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