Safety inspectors are heading back to Alberta sand and gravel crushing work sites to determine whether the industry has made any headway in improving its health and safety record.
The focused inspection picks up from last year’s campaign. OHS officers toured 64 of the work sites in eight weeks and reported the most common violation was inadequate equipment guards.
This year, officers will be travelling to the sand and gravel work sites again looking for employers who haven’t addressed hazards, workers without proper certifications, workers not wearing personal protective equipment or operating equipment incorrectly, and missing safeguards such as equipment guarding on gravel conveyors.
A big change from last year’s inspections is the ability of officers to now issue tickets to employers and workers for certain violations. The tickets are on-the-spot fines of up to $500. OHS officers can also issue administrative penalties if they determine an employer has a chronic disregard for health and safety in the workplace.
“These inspections will shine a light on sand and gravel operators. I’m hopeful we’ll see improvement over last year’s performance, but recent tragedies certainly raise the question whether that’s the case,” says Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour Kyle Fawcett, referring to two fatalities at gravel crushing operations in Alberta this year.
“OHS officers will be educating operators and enforcing the law where required. Our job is to make sure work sites are putting people first by protecting workers.”