EDMONTON — Health and safety officers in Alberta will soon be able to issue tickets to employers for infractions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Alberta Human Services assistant deputy minister Andrew Sharman told attendees of this year’s Alberta Health and Safety Conference and Trade Fair.
Speaking at the conference opening session at the Shaw Conference Centre in this city, Sharman said the province will start implementing this new ticket system for OHS offences by 2013.
Alberta has made great strides in efforts to prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities in the workplace, but regulatory enforcement must be beefed up “to move those who just don’t get it with their compliance,” the assistant deputy minister said.
Sharman praised Alberta’s efforts in injury prevention, saying today’s generation of occupational health and safety leaders have made some headway in these efforts, and industries are now more focused on health and safety. Employers and workers now have a better understanding of health and safety as a shared responsibility, he added.
“But we must be mindful that averting risks in the workplace require vigilance,” Sharman said.
Erik Soderstrom, director at the Alberta Workers’ Compensation Board, echoed Sharman’s call for continuous improvement, saying health and safety is something that can never be taken for granted.
He also commended the health and safety community for making “great strides” in improving the province’s safety performance.
This is the 11th year for the Alberta Health and Safety Conference and Trade Fair, according to Guy Clyne, president of the Health and Safety Conference Society of Alberta, the conference organizer.
This year’s keynote speaker spoke about leadership and what it takes to be successful as a safety leader in a diverse workforce.
“The key to having success in a multicultural, multigenerational, diverse wokplace starts with your attitude,” said Michelle Ray, leadership strategist and founder of the Lead Yourself First Institute.
Ray said health and safety professionals, to be effective leaders, need to be able to see things from different perspectives, recognize the generational differences of the workforce and learn how to affect each one of them.
“We cannot change people, but we can affect people,” she said. “If you believe you can influence people, then you can connect with people, and you can get them to buy in to your message.”
Safety practitioners, Ray said, should not think about themselves as just a health and safety professional.
“Remember this: you are an influencer; you are a communicator; you are a collaborator; you are a connector,” Ray said.
The Alberta Health and Safety Conference and Trade Fair runs from Nov. 19 to 21, showcasing close to 130 health and safety suppliers and organizations.