In the United States, OSHA holds employers – not employees – responsible for violations of workplace safety regulations (with a few very rare exceptions). In Canada, however, things are a bit different.
Alberta is the latest province to approve legislation authorizing government inspectors to fine workers for breaking safety rules. Under the law, occupational health and safety officers can issue tickets of up to $500 to workers or employers if they observe safety infractions at a job site.
Earlier this month, the Alberta government announced that 10 inspectors completed their training to become occupational health and safety “peace officers,” a new designation that gives them “the ability to write tickets to employers and workers who cut corners and put people at risk,” according to the Alberta Ministry of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labor.
“When you see them on your job site, know they are looking out for your well-being,” said Thomas Lukaszuk, minister of jobs, skills, training and labor. “If you’re taking risks on the job, you can now expect to be ticketed for it.”
The new legislation includes 67 ticketable offenses, according to the ministry. OHS peace officers can issue on-the-spot tickets ranging from $100 to $500.
The ministry said it plans to certify all 143 of its occupational health and safety officers to write tickets, with the next class of graduating officers set to complete their training in June.
Alberta is not alone in going after workers for safety and health violations. Earlier in March, an Ontario construction worker received a $1,500 fine for failing to use fall protection at heights. Also in Ontario, a supervisor received a 45-day jail sentence for failing to provide fall protection for a worker who was partially paralyzed after falling off a roof.