Aftermarket & the Environment Supplement

Joint health & safety committees

By: Jennifer Holloway

In most jurisdictions in Canada, employers are responsible for establishing a joint health and safety committee (JHSC) that is made up equally of worker and management representatives. When a union is involved, it usually appoints the worker representatives. Where there is no union, the worker members should be elected by the workers. The management or employer representatives are appointed by the employer.

JHSCs are mandatory for work sites with 20 or more employees in all jurisdictions except in Alberta (where they are as directed by the Minister), and the Northwest Territories and Nunavut (where they are as directed by the Chief Safety Officer). In Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, JHSCs are mandatory for workplaces with 10 or more workers.

Though the legislation varies a bit by jurisdiction, JHSCs are established to participate in the development and implementation of programs that protect the health and safety of workers. JHSCs deal with complaints and suggestions from workers and maintain injury and work hazard records. Committees also conduct workplace inspections, participate in resolving workplace refusals and work stoppages, monitor hazard reports and make recommendations to the employer for corrective action. They can also be responsible for setting up and promoting programs for training and education.

Where a workplace has less than 20 workers, the legislation usually requires a health and safety representative who carries out duties similar to that of a JHSC.

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