DISCLAIMER: This article is focused on reporting workplace accidents to Alberta Occupational Health & Safety prior to June 1, 2018. For a discussion about the new reporting requirements, including when it is necessary to report a "near miss", click here.
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Generally speaking, most employers know that serious workplace accidents or injuries are to be reported to Alberta OHS "as soon as possible". Similarly, most employers know that "serious workplace accidents or injuries" are identified in s. 18(2) of the OHS Act as including:
(a) an injury or accident that results in death,
(b) an injury or accident that results in a worker’s being admitted to a hospital for more than 2 days,
(c) an unplanned or uncontrolled explosion, fire or flood that causes a serious injury or that has the potential of causing a serious injury,
(d) the collapse or upset of a crane, derrick or hoist, or
(e) the collapse or failure of any component of a building or structure necessary for the structural integrity of the building or structure.
While the reporting requirements are, for the most part, relatively straight-forward, the requirement to report "an injury or accident that results in a worker's being admitted to a hospital for more than 2 days" often leads to questions about "when" such accidents should be reported. Keeping in mind the "as soon as possible" requirement, many employers will report the injury or accident to Alberta OHS as soon as they reasonably believe that it will result in a hospital stay of more than 2 days. However, it is important to note there is no requirement that they do so. In fact, there is nothing that requires an employer to contact Alberta OHS until a full 48 hours of hospitalization have elapsed since the injury or accident occurred. It's only then that the legislative reporting requirement kicks into effect.
If 48 hours of hospitalization have already elapsed, or you're calling OHS to report a fatality, give us a call at 1-844-464-7911. When you contact Alberta OHS to report an accident, it kick-starts a process that will inevitably result in an investigation and/or visit from OHS officers. We'll help you prepare for that, and establish legal privilege - two things that you'll thank us for later!