On December 1, 2018, new Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) rules come into effect for farm and ranch workers.

After two years of intense debate and protests over Bill six, the Province has rolled out the final product.

Alberta Labour Minister, Christina Gray, made the announcement Thursday, June 27, saying the rules apply only to waged, non-family workers.

"Not to family members, or kids doing chores. Not to volunteers and neighbors lending a hand. Not to 4-H clubs or other volunteers. The new rules respect and protect rural Alberta's unique way of life, while supporting workers to go home safely at the end of their work day."

The new rules include provisions unique to the agriculture sector.

"A farm or ranch may be using an old tractor, one so old that a manufacturer specification no longer exists," Gray said. "In other industries, equipment must have a manufacturer specification or a professional engineer certifying it, and we have made an exemption for farms and ranches."

Gray added, farms and ranches will not have to replace an old tractor, and old equipment can be used if a competent person or service provider creates new specifications or procedures to use the tractor safely.

Other rules include using seatbelts and other safety equipment wherever possible, but it says when it’s not, use other reasonably practicable methods.

Dairy farmer and Chair of the AgCoaltion, Albert Kamps, said farmers and ranchers in Alberta often go above and beyond standard practices.

"The AgCoalition worked closely with the government to provide grassroots feedback from its membership to ensure the proposed rules reflect the commitment to safety and take into account the unique practicalities of agriculture work. We will continue to work with our farm and ranch members to help them implement these rules and continue to build on the strong culture of farm safety.”

Starting in the Fall, the Alberta government will also be providing $6 million over three years for a farm health and safety producer grant program.

Through the grant, producers with waged, non-family employees can receive up to $10,000 to implement health and safety practices and procedures.

For more information on the OHS rules, you can visit the Alberta Government's website.

 

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