By Cole Parkinson
Before the summer break took full stride, the Horizon School board of trustees got one last look at an updated policy.
During the board’s regular June meeting, Policy GB — Occupational Health and Safety was brought forward with a small number of updates.
“The board of trustees of Horizon School Division is committed to a health and safety program that protects our staff, our property and other workers who enter our property, the general public and the environment. Our commitment to safety is in accordance with standards outlined in the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety legislation. Employees are expected to model safe work practices and behaviours to contribute to a culture of safety awareness,” reads the policy.
Some of the changes made to the policy include wording around new legislation that has come down by the government.
“This policy is from 2011, so it’s almost nine years old. It’s being updated similar to other policies to reflect changes to legislation,” explained Wilco Tymensen, superintendent of schools. “The biggest shift in the document is that, under recent legislative changes, there is a requirement to have joint worksite safety committees or work site representation, pending on the number of employees in the jurisdiction or in the worksite. That would have been implemented about two years ago so the practice was brought up to speed with expectations. These committees are in every school and they meet four times a year because, under OH and S legislation, workers have a right to be informed and involved in safety assessments with resolutions to concerns. So the policy is addressing that piece.”
Another change within the policy comes with updates regarding the ability for workers to turn down work they deem as unsafe.
“The policy also has a section around workplace refusal. Under the legislation, there is a process that school divisions need to have in place for any kind of workplace refusal when it is considered a danger. The policy enraptures our practices by policy update.”
First reading of the policy was unanimously carried by the board.