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Workplace First Aiders and Legal Requirements
OHS information for employers and workers
Access to first aid records
First aid records access
A person with custody of first aid records must ensure that access to the first aid records is limited to the worker unless the person is allowed to release the information under privacy and access to information laws passed by the province of Alberta or the Government of Canada. Such privacy and access to information laws may authorize or require the disclosure of information such as first aid records.
Section 8 of Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Act allows access to first aid records by occupational health and safety officers and the Director of Medical Services, Alberta Human Services.
Other legislation such as the Workers’ Compensation Act, the Health Information Act (HIA), the Personal Information Act (PIPA) and Canada’s Personal Information and Electronic Documents Act may also have provisions authorizing access, use and disclosure of personal information.
A worker can allow his or her first aid record to be made available to other persons but permission must be in writing indicating the information that can be released, the name of the person to whom the information is to be released, the date and the worker’s signature.
Employers that conduct incident investigations need to know the name of the worker, the date of the accident or incident, the date the accident or incident was reported and when first aid was given. Details of the injuries and first aid should be limited.
Persons with access to first aid records must keep the information confidential except when disclosing the information listed in section 8 of the OHS Act.
Posting first aid records with the information contained in subsection 183(2) on notice boards or distributing them throughout the company is not allowed. General information that does not contain any specifics can be distributed to workers and other work sites to increase safety awareness.
An employer must provide the worker with a copy of their first aid record upon request.
At work sites where owners have entered into an agreement with the prime contractor to provide first aid services and the prime contractor’s first aiders are used, the worker can request a copy of his or her first aid record from the first aider. The prime contractor or employer is responsible for ensuring that the worker receives a copy of the first aid record when one is requested.
If the worker requests the first aid record some time after the injury, the worker should request the record from the employer. If the employer is no longer in business, the worker should direct his or her request to the prime contractor. It is recommended that prime contractors and employers develop a procedure for handling worker’s requests.
When completing your CETS course you will have access to create an online account with either Canadian Red Cross or The Heart and Stroke Fountadion (HSF) Portal. You are then able to sign in at anytime to access your First Aid certification card.
Low hazard work - high hazard work
Degree of Hazard
One of the criteria used when determining the type of first aid services, equipment and supplies that an employer must provide is the degree to which the work is hazardous. Hazard is a method of estimating the potential for a worker to be injured or become ill while performing his or her work.
Tables 1 and 2 of Schedule 2 are used to determine if the work performed is low, medium or high hazard work. According to the Tables, work that is neither low or high hazard is classified as medium hazard work. As the hazard increases, so do the requirements for first aid services in terms of the number and qualifications of first aid providers and the types and quantities of first aid equipment and supplies.
Low hazard work:
Low hazard work is typically clerical or administrative type work. Dispersal sites are classified as low hazard because few workers are normally present there during working hours. Workers usually report to a dispersal site and then move on to the location where work is actually performed.
Low, medium, and high hazard at the same time:
Situations commonly arise in which a work site consists of work areas having different hazard classifications. Where work being performed with different hazard classification cannot be separated, employers should classify the entire work site at the highest hazard classification level. Where work can be separated physically or administratively, the employer may choose to have different hazard classifications at a work site. For example, where there is a work site with low and high hazard work areas separated from one another, the employer must meet the first aid requirements for low hazard and high hazard work respectively, based on the number of workers at the work site.
Industrial process facilities are of concern because large scale processes can be complex, involving complicated and extensive interactions between workers and materials, machines and processes. These interactions can lead to unexpected consequences that might result in a worker requiring first aid.
Workers at an industrial process facility may be exposed to a variety of hazards. For the purpose of defining the required first aid equipment, supplies and trained staff required at such a facility, the presence of the following hazards should result in the facility being classified as “high hazard work”:
(a) working in the presence of a biohazardous material, toxic substance or chemical, which, if released, would result in workers needing immediate medical treatment as a result of inhalation or eye or skin contact;
(b) working in the presence of equipment or machinery containing substances under high pressure, substances that may explode or catch fire, or substances that may react dangerously when combined with another process material;
(c) using tools, equipment, or machinery for high-speed grinding, cutting, chipping, or drilling;
(d) working near mobile equipment where there is a possibility of a worker being struck;
(e) working at elevations;
(f) entering confined spaces where toxic atmospheres may exist or develop; and
(g) working where there are other hazard factors that may expose workers to risk of serious injury or occupational disease.
One worker per shift rule:
As part of the first aid services provided, an adequate number of appropriately qualified first aid personnel must be available at the work site to respond to any acute illness or injury that might reasonably be expected to occur. Although first aid training is recommended, the OHS Code does not require that a worker be trained in first aid if they are the only worker on a shift.