One of the basic principles of the Occupational Health and Safety Act is the right of all workers to participate in matters affecting workplace health and safety. One provision of the Act that makes this involvement possible is the requirement for a health and safety representative or joint (labour and management) health and safety committee (JHSC). By allowing input from all parties and encouraging consensus resolutions, the JHSC members are able to participate in all aspects of the health and safety program. The support of all parties in the workplace for a common objective, the well-being of all personnel, is absolutely necessary to ensure an effective health and safety program.
The health and safety representative must:
- be familiar with the current Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations for Construction Projects
- conduct monthly inspections
- make recommendations to employers to improve safety
- be familiar with procedures for refusal to work where health and safety are in danger
Joint Health and Safety Committee
In a workplace that employs 20 or more workers on a regular basis, there is a legal requirement to have a joint health and safety committee. The minimum requirement for committee composition is one represeantative from management and one representative from the workers.
A brief description of the JHSC's duties are as follows:
- Meet at least once every three months.
- Maintain written minutes of the meetings.
- Conduct an inspection of the work areas monthly to identify hazards (worker member).
- Report findings and make written recommendations to senior management.
- Support the implementation and maintenance of the company safety program.
- Review inspection and accident reports.
On a construction project where 50 or more workers are regularly employed, the health and safety committee on the project must have at least one member representing workers and one member representing the constructor who are certified by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. In addition, the committee must ensure that a Worker Trades Committee is in place.
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The samples provided are intended to be modified to meet company or site-specific requirements. Without such modifications, they may not be appropriate. Although IHSA believes that the information provided is consistent with the legal requirements and/or good industry practices which prevailed at the time the information was compiled, users of this information are urged to check with current regulations, local/trade practices and the most recent edition of the reference material to ensure that it is still appropriate.