Workers Can Now Receive Safety Violation Fines in Alberta

Due to new legislation, workers and employers in Alberta may have to pay fines for violating safety protocol

No longer does a workplace safety violation solely affect the employers—now, employees can be fined for safety violations as well. As part of newly-approved legislation in Alberta, agency officers can issue fines of up to $500 to workers and employers.

Employees and employers can be fined for more than 60 different violations, such as failure to wear proper protective equipment. Recipients of fines for these violations can plead not guilty and take the matter to court.

But that’s not it. While the $500 tickets are issued for on-the-spot violations, officers can also issue administrative tickets of up to $10,000. These tickets, according to Calgary Herald, will be for repeat offenders who have had more than one safety compliance issue. Those who receive an administrative ticket (which can be given to workers and employers) can appeal the ticket through the Occupational Health and Safety Council in Alberta.

The new penalties were officially set in place on September 6, 2013. The $500 fines will take effect on January 1,, 2014 and the administrative penalties will take effect on October 1, 2013.

This change marks the first time that Occupational Health and Safety can issue monetary fines in Alberta. A similar system already exists in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan, according to 660 News.

According to an interview from the Calgary Herald, OHS spokesman Brookes Merritt said, “We needed something that was more severe than an order to comply, but less severe than prosecution.”

The proposed change has been met with conflicting views. Some believe the program will keep workers safer and the environment more productive. Others think that workers may be improperly fined, as companies can now place the blame on their workers instead of taking the hit themselves.

For more information, visit: http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/calgary/Workplace+safety+fines+include+employees+first+time/8885725/story.html

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