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Regulatory update: Alberta’s new roadside worker safety rules take effect Sept. 1

road work sign

New road safety rules are coming into force to protect roadside workers Alberta this week. With the new regulations coming into effect on September 1st, there will be a heightened focus on protecting workers on roadways, especially in industries like heavy logging. These regulations emphasize the “Slow Down, Move Over” principle, highlighting the significance of treating workers with care and attention. To this point, Alberta had been one of only two provinces without this type of legislation, but the provincial government is changing that. Let’s delve into the details of these regulations and understand how they contribute to a safer work environment.

Understanding the “Slow Down, Move Over” Principle

In high-risk work zones like roadways, workers often face potential dangers from passing vehicles. Alberta’s new rules stress the importance of the “Slow Down, Move Over” principle. As of this Friday, drivers in the lane closest to any roadside worker vehicle stopped at the side of the road with its lights flashing must slow down to 60 km/h or the posted speed limit, whichever is lower. Drivers must also move over to the far lane if it’s safe to do so and take reasonable steps to allow other drivers to move over as well. This simple yet effective action significantly enhances the safety of workers on the job. By adopting this principle, drivers acknowledge the vulnerability of workers on the road and take active steps to prevent accidents.

Penalties, Fines and Demerit Points

According to OHS Canada, failure to comply with these rules can result in the following fines and demerit points:

  • Variable fines and demerit points for failing to slow down to 60 km/h or the maximum speed limit, whichever is lower, when passing stopped roadside workers (the fine and demerits increase on an escalating scale, based on how much a driver exceeds the speed limit)
  • $243 fine and three demerit points for failing to allow other drivers to move into a traffic lane farther from a stopped emergency vehicle, tow truck or roadside work vehicle.
  • A fine of $324 and three demerit points for unsafe passing of snowplows.

Applicability to High-Risk Environments like Logging

Industries that involve high-risk environments, such as heavy logging, can greatly benefit from these new rules. Logging operations often require workers to be present alongside roads, making them susceptible to the dangers posed by fast-moving vehicles. By slowing down and moving over, drivers give workers the space they need to perform their duties safely. This rule applies not only to construction zones but also to any location where workers are at risk from passing traffic.

Putting Worker Safety First

Treating workers in high-risk environments like humans, rather than mere components of a job, is crucial. The new regulations aim to instill this sense of consideration among motorists. When drivers adhere to the “Slow Down, Move Over” principle, they send a powerful message: the safety and well-being of workers matter. By reducing speed and changing lanes, drivers display empathy for the challenges that workers face while working near roadways. This empathy forms the foundation of a safer work culture.

Impact on Workplace Culture

The introduction of these regulations goes beyond legal compliance; it contributes to shaping a safety-oriented workplace culture. Employers, workers, and motorists alike are reminded of their shared responsibility to ensure the welfare of those working in high-risk environments. Employers can integrate this principle into their safety training programs, emphasizing the importance of following these rules consistently. A culture that values worker safety creates an environment where everyone is actively invested in preventing accidents and fostering a secure work atmosphere.

Education and Awareness

As the new regulations come into effect, education and awareness play pivotal roles in their successful implementation. Employers can collaborate with safety training providers to organize workshops and training sessions that educate workers about the significance of these rules. Similarly, public awareness campaigns can help motorists understand their role in safeguarding workers’ lives. By fostering a deep understanding of the “Slow Down, Move Over” principle, everyone involved contributes to a safer roadway environment.


Alberta’s new rules mark a significant step forward in ensuring the safety of workers on roadways. By embracing this principle, motorists actively participate in creating a safety-conscious culture. These regulations emphasize the importance of treating workers not just as employees, but as individuals deserving of respect and protection.

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