16. "Right now, we have an OHS Act that doesn't respect the fundamentals of worker safety in Alberta," Gil McGowan, President of the Alberta Federation of Labour, said in a news release. "All workers deserve healthy and safe workplaces from their first shift through to retirement. Alberta workplaces and the nature of Albertans' work have changed significantly during the past 40 years, we need to make sure the province's laws and best practices are helping keep Albertans safe at work," said Christina Gray, minister of Labour. Although various amendments have been made to Alberta's OHS Act over the years, many of the labor laws have remained untouched since 1976. At its basic conception, the current regulations leave Alberta workers more vulnerable than others, with elementary safety provisions framed as suggestions rather than enforceable rules. "The act is full of token language that sounds good on the surface," McGowan said, "but doesn't amount to any meaningful, enforceable protections for workers, especially compared to other provinces." Everything from compliance and enforcement to employee engagement and prevention will be examined to make sure standards and practices better reflect changes in a modern workplace. "As our understanding of technology and hazards changes, we need a fast, effective way to change our laws," McGowan said. "Workers deserve the benefit of the latest research to protect their health and safety, particularly in dangerous fields. No worker should have to work in unsafe, unprotected conditions for decades simply because we lack legal mechanisms to address a known problem." They will also address how to assure that employers who put workers in harm's way will be held accountable.
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