Many employers are not familiar with their legal responsibilities under Alberta legislation. Often employees do not understand their rights should they suffer an acute or chronic incident that requires first aid. These Acts and parts of Alberta legislation provide a good summary of legislation for your perusal:
WORKPLACE FIRST AIDERS AND LEGAL REQUIREMENTS OF FIRST AID IN ALBERTA
Alberta legislation outlines the requirements of relevant sections for worksite first aiders. Those that are responsible for providing first aid services at a worksite must understand their legal requirements.
EMERGENCY MEDICAL AID ACT
This Good Samaritan legislation was designed to assure volunteers that conduct first aid about legal guidelines. As long as they are using reasonable skill and care to the level of the first aid they were certified, they should not fear unnecessary legal action.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT
Alberta has umbrella legislation for occupational health and safety in the province. The Act specifies that employers, workers, contractors and prime contractors are all responsible to ensure safety and health at work. Subsection 23(2) outlines numerous requirements for first aiders. It allows the Director of Medical Services in the province to ask for first aid reports and requires first aiders to provide them upon request.
OH&S CODE, PART 11 – FIRST AID
This code, under Occupational Health and Safety in Alberta requires employers to have designated first aiders at work sites and to provide first aid. Minimum standards in services, supplies and equipment are stipulated. It specifies the number of first aiders, level of first aid training needed, number and type of first aid kits required and quantity and type of equipment and supplies. This is based on the number of workers per shift, the distance of the worksite to the nearest health care facility and the hazard level of the work performed at the work site. The code details record keeping requirements for the designated work site first aiders.
Transportation must be available for taking ill or injured workers to a health care facility. If a licensed ambulance service isn’t available, the employer must ensure that another suitable means of transport be used considering the travelling distance, and type of acute injury or illness. It must afford protection against weather and be large enough to accommodate a stretcher and an accompanying person. The transportation should also have a means of communication with the health care facility.
WORKPLACE HAZARDOUS MATERIALS INFORMATION SYSTEM – PART 29
WHMIS has two sections that are relevant to first aiders:
Section 407 requires employers to ensure that MSDS are available to workers who could be exposed to controlled products. These material safety data sheets must contain proper first aid treatment and be readily accessible. Section 413 notes that physicians and nurses are entitle to information on the controlled products in order to diagnose or treat workers. If asked, the work site first aiders might be involved in supplying the information.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ACT
Section 37 – Inspection of Records – The OH&S Act and regulations under that Act require that a record be kept of first aid treatments given to a worker or in respect to injuries suffered by the worker. This is open to inspection by any member or representative of the WCB as well as by the injured worker or their representative. First aid treatment that is minor does not need to be reported to the WCB. However, workers and employers must report any workplace incident to the WCB when the injury is likely to disable the worker or has beyond the day of the incident. If the worker has medical aid treatment or other services provided by licensed medical practitioners, the employers must notify the WCB.
The good samaritan legislation really offers so much peace of mind – it’s amazing that in many jurisdictions, helping someone who is injured can still get you in legal trouble!
Yes, this is valuable legislation that allows qualified people to feel safe in offering their professional services in an emergency situation.