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Reporting to OHS and What to do When Issued an OHS Order

  • 15 July 2020
  • Author: Safety Ahead
  • Number of views: 1528
Reporting to OHS and What to do When Issued an OHS Order

As a worker, you have the right to know about health and safety, the right to refuse dangerous work and the right to participate in health and safety.

How do I report a complaint?

If there is something at your workplace that you think is unsafe for you and others around, you must report it. Here is how:

  1. Tell your employer as they are responsible
  2. If your employer is not addressing the concern turn to your health and safety committee
  3. If there is no committee or the concern is still not being addressed submit a complaint to the OHS if you believe that the dangerous condition is not remedied. You can either call OHS or fill out an OHS complaint here: https://ohscomplaintsportal.labour.alberta.ca/prescreening/

Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Officers have the authority to issue orders to employers and worksite parties that require specific actions that will result in compliance with Alberta OHS Legislation.

What is a Contact Order?

OHS Orders are issued to the employer or worksite party in the form of an OHS Contact Report (OCR). The report includes the following details:

  1. The section of Alberta OHS Legislation that the order is issued under. There may be several sections listed and a contact report can have multiple orders that require action.
  2. Officer observations. The OHS Officer that issues the Contact Report will conduct an inspection of the worksite and will document their observations on the Contact Report.
  3. The actions required in order to obtain compliance and to have the order lifted.
  4. The date the orders listed in the Contact Report must be remedied by.

What types of orders can be issued?

There are several types of orders that can be issued and for various reasons.

Compliance Orders – are issued when non-compliance issues are observed by the OHS officer. Compliance orders will require action by a specific date. OHS may grant an extension if requested but an extension is not guaranteed.

Stop Work Orders – are issued when an OHS Officer determines that work is being done in a manner that is unsafe or unhealthy. All work on site must stop/shut down until the order has been lifted and all requirement have been complied with. A Stop Work Order may apply to the entire worksite, multiple worksites, or to certain areas or activities of a work site. The Stop Work Order will remain in place until the requirements have been complied with.

Stop Use Orders – are issued when a piece of equipment is observed to be unsafe, or has the potential, in the OHS Officers opinion, to seriously injure workers. Stop Use Orders remain in place until the requirements of the order have been complied with. The equipment must be tagged and not used again until the order has been lifted and all requirement have been complied with.

Director’s Orders – OHS Directors have additional authorities that go above those of an OHS Officer. These can include (but are not limited to) the authority to:

  • Establish a code of practice
  • Establish a health and safety program
  • Stop work on a project
  • Require a Prime Contractor, Contractor, Owner, Employer, Supervisor or Self-Employed person to carry out regular work site inspections, as specified by the director
  • File notice of new projects, etc.

Can an OHS Order be reviewed and/or appealed?

Yes. An OHS Order or Decision can be reviewed by the OHS Director if the request for review is made within 30 days of receiving the order. The request must be in writing using the “Request for Director Review of an Order/Decision” form and include the names and contact information of any person(s) you feel are affected by the order or decision. The request must be submitted by email or Canada Post. Regular mail must be postmarked within 30 days of receiving the order or decision to accepted.

The OHS Director will review all documents, submissions and evidence presented to them, and make a decision in a timely fashion based on the information presented. The decision will be communicated in writing to the requestor and all affected/interested parties. 

If you have received a decision from a Director of Inspection Review, you can appeal the decision through the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) within 30 days of being served or given notice of the decision.

How can I Comply with an Order?

The Contact Order will provide the specific requirements on how to comply with the orders given. Determine what steps need to be taken and who will be responsible to complete/implement the requirements by the date stated on the Contact Order.

OHS recommends that companies request the assistance of a third party consultant if the company is inexperienced in dealing with these matters or if they do not have a designated safety person. This will help to ensure that the Contact Report and orders are effectively dealt with and compliance with Legislation is implemented by the required date. This can be the easiest, least stressful route at times. OHS Contact Order can be varying lengths and can have numerous requirements, depending on the situation. The majority of companies need to get OHS Orders dealt with immediately to prevent them from affecting their operations and finances.

If you have received an OHS Contact Order and are unsure of how to deal with it, let us help. Safety Ahead Ltd. Has a lot of experience in dealing with various types of OHS Orders and can assist you in obtaining Legislative compliance in a timely manner. Please give us a call, and let us help you.


Reference: Government of Alberta 



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