Occupational Health and Safety on Alberta Farms & Ranches

Alberta’s new Occupational Health and Safety technical rules for farms and ranches come into effect on December 1, 2018. What do these new rules mean for your farming operation? How can farm and ranch managers prepare?

The requirements of the OHS legislation are applicable for farms and ranches with waged, non-family workers and do not apply to owners, family members, or volunteers of farm or ranch operations.

Farms and ranches place a high priority on safety and want to keep their families, and workers safe as they run their operations and raise their families in a shared farm environment.

The province applied the OHS legislation to farms and ranches with waged, non-family employees, in order to provide the same rights and protection to farm workers that are provided to workers in other industries in the province. The OHS legislation has 3 parts:

  1. THE ACT: The OHS Act is the basis of the OHS system and sets the responsibilities for workplace health and safety.
  2. THE REGULATIONS: The OHS regulations address requirements related to general administration matters and broad health and safety rules and regulations. The Act and the Regulations came into effect for farms and ranches with waged non-family employees on January 1, 2016.
  3. THE CODE: The OHS code specifies the technical standards and rules that employers and workers need to comply with to fulfill their obligations. The OHS Code require workplace hazards to be controlled and managed and these requirements come into effect for Alberta farms and ranches on December 1, 2018. Most of the OHS Code addresses hazards that other industries have in common with agriculture. There are some unique requirements for farms and ranches for a few sections of the code. Where there is not a unique requirement, farms and ranches are expected to align with the Code as it applies in other sectors.

There are many variables to consider when determining how, and to what extent, the OHS legislation will apply to your farming operation. Some of these variables include:

  • whether you have waged, non-family employees
  • the number of waged, non-family employees – there are different requirements depending on the number of waged employees.
  • equipment used in the operation
  • tasks in the operation
  • hazards on your farm and their corresponding level of risk
  • competency levels of the employees

There is not a “one-size-fits-all” prescription for farms to comply with OHS legislation. Each farm is unique and the OHS legislation requirements will also be unique for each farm depending on the above variables.

There are resources available to farmers and ranchers including;

  • All-Safe HSE – team members that have grown up on and worked on farms and ranches that can come to site and assist you with understanding and applying the requirements to your operations. Contact us today!
  • AgSafe Alberta – www.agsafeab.ca