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Changes to OHS Act Take Effect in Alberta on December 1, 2021

Nov 30, 2021

As you know there is actually a world of occupational health and safety outside of COVID. In Alberta, a number of amendments to the occupational health and safety legislation (OHS) will come into effect on December 1, 2021*. Some highlights of the changes include:

  • Multi-Employer Work Sites/Establishment of Prime Contractors. In addition to oil and gas, and construction sites, multi-employer sites may now voluntarily designate a prime contractor. By doing so health and safety committees and, a health and safety representative will not be required. Multiple Employer work sites without a prime contractor will continue to be required to have a health and safety committee depending on the number of regularly employed workers on the work site.
  • Right to Refuse Dangerous Work. Workers can refuse work if there is an “undue hazard” at the work site. “Undue Hazards” are defined as those which pose an immediate and serious health and safety threat. In exercising the right to refuse, the worker must reasonably ensure their refusal doesn’t endanger anyone else. The process following a refusal has also been streamlined.
  • “Discriminatory Action” changed to “Disciplinary Action”. In an effort to avoid confusion with other legislation the OHS now uses the language of prohibiting “disciplinary action” against a worker for acting in compliance with the OHS or an OHS Order.
  • More clarity with regard to Reportable Incidents. Potentially serious incidents are now defined as an incident that had a likelihood of causing a serious injury or illness that could have resulted in a fatality or hospitalization, and there is reasonable cause to believe that corrective action is needed.

Having been a fundamental part of managing OHS risk inside of organizations Inhaus would be pleased to guide you through the practical implications and effect of these changes on your workplace.

* For a complete summary of the changes visit

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