Basic OHS for Young Workers

In this course, you will get an overview of Basic OHS as you enter the work force.

The Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Act

What is it? The Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Act is a piece of legislation that governs health and safety in most of Alberta's workplaces. It is the law and it must be complied with. Non-compliance will mean consequences, such as fines.

Who is responsible? All workers and employers are responsible to follow the legislation.

Rights and Responsibilities: Everyone in the workplace is responsible for a healthy and safe workplace. Workers have the right and obligation to refuse unsafe work under section 35 of the Act.

Some useful websites for more information

Kids have rights and responsibilities too.

Only in exceptional circumstances can kids work in Alberta under 12 years of age.

Young people 12-18 years have the same rights and responsibilities as older workers. For example, for workers 12-14, they need parental permission to work. Young workers cannot work during school hours unless it is for Work Experience/RAP program, or it is part of an off-campus education/training experience. For more information, refer to Employment Standards and Regulations, or go to https://work.alberta.ca/employment-standards/employees-under-18.html

Young persons have the responsibility to refuse work as well. Do not let inexperience or fear force you into saying "yes" to unsafe work. It is a well known fact that young workers at the greatest risk for injury or death on the job, see http://www.safethink.ca/resources/pdf/Canadian%20Workplace%20Injury%20and%20Fatality%20Facts.pdf

Where can I go for help, or more information?

There are many resources on the web to help you, one great resource, free of charge is found at https://alis.alberta.ca/pdf/cshop/xtremesafety.pdf

What a Young person should see in a Safe Workplace

The Act is very broad, but OHS regulations and codes are very specific

Employers are required to comply with certain standards and safety rules to protect workers from harm.

  • Employers need to inform young workers what the hazards are in the workplace, and provide means/measures to eliminate or controls these hazards. In fact, employers should do a hazard assessment before every shift.
  • Workers should be aware of all safe operating procedures and best practices, and be made aware of the company's Health and Safety Policy and Procedures. Usually, this is provided by means of a company manual.
  • All equipment should be in working order, and be maintained, and inspected regularly.
  • Workers should be trained to do their tasks in a safe manner.
  • All dangerous chemicals should be properly labelled and stored, and workers need training on how to safety use them.

Ask your employer, if they have an OHS (Occupational Health and Safety) program?

Your employer should have an OHS program which is in effect at work.

Q. What is an OHS program?

A. According to CCOHS, an OHS program identifies and categorizes health and safety risks and hazards. It takes this information to develop plans and control measures to eliminate, mitigate, or reduce risks and hazards. It includes policies, procedures, plans, processes, practices, which when implemented, work to prevent harm. Most often, the program's principal documents are in a manual. For more information on what a program should contain, see http://www.ccohs.ca/products/courses/course_listing.html

What if my boss does not have an OHS Program?

Think about your answer, then compare it to what it ought to be.

What if you feel unsafe, or insufficiently trained for a task?

The OHS Act, section 35 says that a worker can refuse to do unsafe work if there is Imminent Danger. If there is danger to the worker, or others, he/she ought not to do it. For more info go to https://work.alberta.ca/occupational-health-safety/refusing-work-imminent-danger.html

The fact is, the employer cannot force the worker to do unsafe work, and they cannot discipline a worker for refusing unsafe work. It is the duty of the employer to address the issue of imminent danger. If the worker has questions about health and safety, and the employer is not addressing them, he/she can call the OHS Contact Centre at 1-866-415-8690.

Ignorance is no excuse. Both worker and employer have resources they can refer to...

for the worker: https://work.alberta.ca/documents/OHS-bulletin-LI008.pdf

for the employer: https://work.alberta.ca/documents/OHS-bulletin-LI009.pdf







QUIZ TO SEE HOW MUCH YOU HAVE LEARNED

What legislation governs the workplace in Alberta?

  • Health and Safety Regulations
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act of Alberta
  • There is no legislation in Alberta covering the workplace

Who is responsible for Health and Safety in the workplace?

  • The worker
  • The employer
  • Both worker and employer

What section says that a worker can refuse unsafe work?

  • Section 35
  • Section 34
  • Section 33

Which statement is true about young workers?

  • They do not have the same rights as adult workers
  • They have same rights as adult workers, and should be informed and trained as adult workers.
  • Young workers under 18 cannot work in Alberta.

One can be 12 years old and work in Alberta. Is this true or false?

  • It really depends....only in a few exceptional cases can young people under 12 work. One example, would be on a family farm.
  • Yes, kids under 12 can work anywhere they want.
  • Yes, kids 12 or less can work in a business as long as parents consent.