Course: Employee Health and Safety (HRPD-707)
Instructor: Wenlu Feng
Lecture 2: Joint Health and Safety Committees
Goal & Objectives
After this lecture, we should be able to:
1. Know the legislated requirements for establishing a JHSC.
2. Describe the powers, functions and duties of a JHSC and its members.
3. Describe the format and structure of an effective JHSC.
4. Describe the activities of an effective JHSC.
5. Describe the process of preparing and submitting JHSC recommendations to an employer.
Joint Health and Safety Committees: An Introduction
Joint Health and Safety Committees (JHSCs) have an important role in an organization's health and safety program. The main purpose of JHSCs is to ensure that health and safety concerns are identified and addressed. JHSCs play a major role in a company's "internal responsibility system", which is a forum for employee participation, a right within the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the Act).
The principle of internal responsibility means that employers and workers each have responsibility for health and safety in the workplace. It is built on the self-reliance of workplace parties and means that employers and employees must be responsible for eliminating hazards in their workplace, and for achieving optimum health and safety performance. To promote the internal responsibility system, the Occupational Health and Safety Act creates an interlocking set of duties, obligations and rights, on the part of employers, supervisors and workers.
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the Act), JHSCs are required:
Where 20 or more workers are regularly employed
Where a toxic substance/physical agent order has been issued by the Ministry of Labour (MOL) (section 33 of the Act)
Where a designated substance regulation applies (other than a construction project where fewer than 20 persons are regularly employed), or
When ordered by the Minister of Labour.
Composition of a JHSC
JHSCs in workplaces with fewer than 50 workers regularly employed must have at least 2 persons
JHSCs in workplaces with 50 or more workers regularly employed must have at least 4 persons
At least half of the JHSC members must be workers with no managerial functions, selected by workers, or trade unions (if any). The remaining members must have managerial responsibilities and be selected by the employer
JHSCs must have a management co-chair selected by management and a worker co-chair selected by worker members
At least one management member and one worker member must be certified members. The worker certified member must be selected by the same workers or trade union that selected the worker members of the JHSC. Powers, Functions and Duties
The powers, functions and duties of a JHSC include:
To identify hazardous situations and make recommendations to the employer on health and safety issues
To be consulted on the preparation of hazardous materials and hazardous physical agents inventories
To be consulted on the development and review of instruction and training for workers exposed or likely to be exposed to hazardous materials or hazardous physical agents
To be consulted on the assessment and control program for designated substances to be consulted and provided with information with respect to any proposed industrial hygiene testing strategies and to designate a worker member to be present at the start, if necessary
To obtain information and be consulted about health and safety tests on equipment, materials, etc., carried out in the workplace
To request from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) an annual summary of the work injury experience of their workplace
To be provided with results of reports and copies of written reports respecting occupational health and safety in the employer's possession to be bound by confidentiality requirements of the Act
To meet at least once every three