4 Steps To Get Your Joint Health and Safety Committee Started!

4 Steps To Get Your Joint Health and Safety Committee Started!

As businesses grow and the number of employees increases, the legislation in most Canadian jurisdictions requires that a Joint Health and Safety Committee be formed.

The development of the JHSC may feel like a daunting task. Committee members must be chosen or appointed.  Training requirements must be met. Meeting agendas and JHSC worksite inspections require development. 

In the following steps, we will walk you through setting up an effective Joint Health and Safety Committee.

Get Familiar With The JHSC Requirements

1. Get Familiar With The JHSC Requirements - Make A Plan 

The importance of a good plan should never be minimized! It will serve you well over the coming months as you guide the development and set in motion a Joint Health and Safety Committee 

  1. Get familiar with the JHSC requirements and criteria for your jurisdiction on the OH&S website.

    Ensure that your company meets the criteria for forming the JHSC. Smaller companies may only require the appointment of a Safety Representative. Take advantage of the resources provided. Many jurisdictions supply informative “HOW TO” booklets to download. 

Your plan may extend over a few weeks so make room to add details as you move forward. Be sure to address these points:

    • Selection of committee members
    • Training of committee members
    • The meeting agenda and minutes
    • Other duties of the committee members

We have made links available to access this information by jurisdiction below.

  1. Once you have a clear plan in place, take some time to define the purpose and responsibilities of the JHSC.

    By doing this at the beginning of the process, you and all the other stakeholders can easily identify what will be expected of them when the committee is formed.

Select the Committee Members & Train them!

 

2. Select the Committee Members & Train them! - Put The Plan In Motion

As you put your plan in motion, keep your management and workers informed. Encourage input and ensure that everyone is aware of the purpose and responsibilities of the committee. Build support for the formation of the JHSC. Showcase the benefits of having representation from both the management and the workforce looking at safety issues and recommendations together. 

  1. Select the Committee Members

Now it’s time to get the committee together! Some may be appointed by management, while others are selected by their peers. Follow the process and requirements of your jurisdiction. Once the committee members have been selected, a committee chair or co-chairs will be nominated. 

The role of the committee will include: 

    • promoting health and safety in the workplace, 
    • consulting with workers and employers about worker safety. Take part in scheduled inspections of the workplace.
    • making recommendations to improve occupational health and safety environmental health and the effectiveness of the company’s safety program
    • participation in Incident Investigations
    • promoting compliance with Occupational Health and Safety provision for their jurisdiction

Everyone selected must have a full commitment to safety in the workplace and the to the mission of the JHSC. 

Take time with each member to clearly lay out expectations. Many jurisdictions have legislated duties for the committee. It is important to clarify these specific duties. Be sure to address the training that will be required at this time, too.

  1. Training of Committee Members

Most jurisdictions require that members of a Joint Health and Safety Committee receive certified training at or near the beginning of their tenure. JHSC training is the responsibility of the employer and can be in a classroom or by online self-study. Research training options and present them to management for approval. 

Once the training method has been determined, inform the committee members. Each committee member is paid as though they are in the workplace during the hours of training. Follow the process that your company has in place for retaining certificates.

 

Setup The Meeting Agenda & Minutes

 

3. Setup The Meeting Agenda & Minutes - Follow A Well Laid Out Process

When the JHSC meets for the first time, it will set up the Rules of procedure or terms of reference, so that the scope and mandate of the committee are determined.

Unlike daily toolbox and other safety meetings, the JHSC meetings are formal and will follow what is known as “Robert’s Rules of Order” or parliamentary procedure. This is not nearly as arduous as it sounds. It merely involves following a well laid out process

Meeting Agenda:

Advanced notice of the meeting should be sent to each committee member with the agenda for the meeting attached, including the date, time, and place of the meeting. But first, let’s see how the agenda looks. 

This format will be used at every JHSC meeting so once the template is in place, the real work is done. Typically, the agenda will include:

    • Roll call
    • Adoption of previous minutes
    • Review of relevant reports 
    • Old business
    • New business
    • Move to adjourn

Meeting Minutes:

Each meeting will follow the same order. Someone, not necessarily a committee member, will be designated to take the minutes of the meeting. All discussion and recommendations should be documented in these minutes. As topics from the agenda are addressed, each will require a Motion and a Second. 

 

Going paperless with your Safety Program means a Reduced impact on the environment.

 

4. Is Your Joint Health and Safety Committee Working Effectively? - Monitor & Evaluate

Now that all the setup work has been completed, it is important to establish an ongoing process for determining the effectiveness of the committee. This should be monitored both internally, by the committee, and externally, as well.

Ongoing assessment should include:

    • How successfully does the committee communicate with workers? 
    • Are members available and approachable?
    • Are the minutes of the JHSC meetings available to workers?

Annual Evaluation is a thorough assessment. Many jurisdictions provide tools for the annual evaluation. This is the time to examine consistency with meetings and inspections, the fulfillment of duties and functions, employer support for committee recommendations and the overall effectiveness of the committee. A strategic plan for improvement should be put in place for ongoing improvement. Define goals and target dates.

 

Safety Software makes the JHSC Process Easier!

Do you want one central location for your safety program? Utilize our monthly meeting templates or create your own custom forms. Schedule meeting reminders for your team and have a searchable database to always refer back to in your safety management software.

Book in for a 15-minute Free Safety Assessment to learn more!

Free Safety Assessment

 

 

Key Takeaways: 

  • Make a plan
  • Collaborate during the selection and startup
  • Continue to assess the effectiveness

 

 

References:

Links for Canadian Jurisdictions

https://www.worksafebc.com/en

https://www.alberta.ca/work-site-health-safety-committees.aspx

https://www.saskatchewan.ca/business/safety-in-the-workplace/ohc-and-ohs-representative/ohc

https://www.safemanitoba.com/Resources/Pages/setting-workplace-safety-and-health-committee-or-representative.aspx

https://www.ontario.ca/page/guide-health-and-safety-committees-and-representatives

https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/hsprograms/hscommittees/creation.html

https://ohsguide.worksafenb.ca/topic/fixed.html

https://novascotia.ca/lae/healthandsafety/jointhealthsafetycommittee.asp

http://www.wcb.pe.ca/Workplace/JOSHCommittees

https://www.gov.nl.ca/education/files/02_Participant_Manual_20180207.pdf

https://www.cfib-fcei.ca/en/resources/occupational-health-and-safety-act-workplace-OHS-YK

https://www.wscc.nt.ca/sites/default/files/documents/Joint%20OHS%20Committee%20Code%20of%20Practice%20NT%20and%20NU%20English.pdf

 

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