Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC)
The purpose of this document is to assist departments and crown corporations in establishing and maintaining a "Joint Health and Safety Committee" (JHSC).
Membership of JHSC
When 20 or more employees are regularly employed at a workplace (a place where an employee is engaged in work) for a period exceeding one month, the employer shall ensure the establishment of a JHSC.
The JHSC membership will include a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 12 people. Half of the membership will be employees who do not manage or supervise other employees, and shall be selected by the employees they represent or by the union that represents the employees. The other half of the members will hold managerial/supervisory responsibilities and represent the employer. The employer shall ensure the employee membership of the JHSC select one health and safety representative to be the "go-to-person" for health and safety issues and investigation of work refusals, as per OHS Act, Section 15.
JHSC must have two co-chairs; one chosen by the employer members, the other chosen by the employee members, and each co-chair shall alternate the function of chairing the meetings and shall participate fully in the discussions and decisions of the JHSC.
All employees in the workplace will be provided with the names and contact information of all JHSC members. This can be achieved via email and by posting on the health and safety bulletin board.
Training of JHSC
Safety Committee co-chairs and the worker safety representative shall be provided with orientation training, as per OHS Act, Section 14, covering their roles and responsibilities, accountabilities and authority within 90 days of selection.
The JHSC may recommend that the employer provide any specific training identified by the JHSC as being useful to enable the JHSC to fulfill their duties.
Terms of Reference
Upon establishment of the JHSC a "Terms of Reference" clearly defining the purpose and structure of the JHSC should be established.
JHSC are required to meet at least once per month, as per OHS Act, Section 12(12) or in an emergency situation. A copy of an "Agenda Template" should be forwarded to all members prior to the meeting and a completed "Agenda Template" should be forwarded to all members prior to the meeting and a completed "Minutes Template" must be distributed to all JHSC members, senior management and the Union. One copy of the completed minutes should be posted in the workplace in an area that is accessible and known to all workers, which is typically on the Health and Safety Bulletin Board.
Roles and Responsibilities of JHSC
The Employer has the ultimate responsibility for occupational health and safety in the workplace, while the JHSC is responsible for monitoring the safety performance of the workplace as a whole. The JHSC makes recommendations to management to correct safety hazards in the workplace, which are brought to its' attention, but it has no authority to direct work.
The "JHSC" or "JHSC Employee Health and Safety Representative" shall:
A. Inspect the workplace on a regular basis in order to identify situations or hazards that may be dangerous to employees. The inspection will be documented on a "Workplace Inspection Template" designed for your workplace.
The employer is responsible to ensure that employees are made aware of any hazard in their workplace. Supervisors are responsible to advise employees of any hazards or potential hazards that exist in the workplace. Employees are responsible to report any hazards or potential hazards to their supervisor. The JHSC is required to identify situations that may be a source of danger or hazard to workers as per G.A.M. Policy 3.48, Corporate Health and Safety and OHS Act, Section 12.
It is therefore reasonable that all of these persons may be involved in inspecting the workplace. However, it is often the JHSC, comprised of supervisors and employees, or the employee health and safety representative who will inspect the workplace and document their findings on the appropriate template, on a monthly basis. Upon completion of the workplace inspection, the inspection report should be immediately reviewed by the supervisor in charge of the work area to ensure he/she knows the safety concerns within his/her area and can begin to ensure that they are mitigated. Upon completion of mitigation, the supervisor should sign off on the inspection report and forward the inspection report to the JHSC employee health and safety representative for review and sign off by JHSC.
B. Investigate and work to correct workplace health and safety complaints.
The employer is primarily responsible for the health and safety of its' employees. The JHSC is an important part of the internal responsibility system which holds the employer and employees jointly responsible for health and safety in the workplace. The JHSC is not accountable for workplace health and safety. Front line supervisors and managers are responsible for enforcing general safety rules or safe job procedures, not the JHSC. Every attempt to correct or mitigate a hazard in the workplace should be taken by the employer and employee prior to forwarding the complaint to the JHSC. The hierarchy of hazard mitigation is outlined below:
Hierarchy of Mitigation/Reporting whereby the hazard will not cause an immediate serious incident or fatality to an employee:
- employee who initially becomes aware of the safety hazard mitigates (fixes) the hazard
- if unable to mitigate the hazard the employee forwards the information to the supervisor in writing or by email on the "MINOR Incident and Near Miss Investigating and Reporting" template.
- Supervisor mitigates the safety hazard, documents his/her action on MINOR Incident and Near Miss Investigating and Reporting template and forwards the report to the employee health and safety representative for review by JHSC; or ensures that the person/department responsible is made aware and mitigates, documents, and forwards the information to the employee health and safety representative for review by JHSC.
- If the safety hazard is still not mitigated satisfactorily by the employee and/or employer, then the JHSC becomes involved and ensures the facilitation of the mitigation, or recommends a mitigation process to senior management, if required. This could require a special meeting of the JHSC – do not wait until the monthly meeting.
Hierarchy of Mitigation/Reporting whereby the safety hazard will cause an immediate "serious" (definition of serious: OHS Act, Section 30) incident or fatality to an employee:
- employee refuses to continue to work; work stops; (OHS Act, Section 15)
- employee reports the unsafe work condition to the supervisor immediately;
- if the employee is comfortable dealing directly with the supervisor, they will investigate, mitigate and document together; if not:
- Supervisor investigates with the employee and the employee health and safety representative from the JHSC. If the employee health and safety representative is unavailable a member of the JHSC or an employee chosen by the complainant employee will attend the investigation.
- If every reasonable effort has been made to correct the safety hazard and the employee still believes the work is unsafe, the employee may contact a Safety Officer at Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board at 667-5450. (OHS Act, Section 15(4))
C. Develop and promote health and safety programs, measures and procedures for the benefit of the health and safety of employees.
The JHSC will act as a "sounding board" to help employees accept health and safety as an everyday way of work life. It will also assist in safety training and safety orientation of new employees, and listen to the concerns and suggestions of workers with a focus on enhancing health and safety in the workplace.
D. Review all minor and serious incident, near miss, accident investigation reports and make further recommendations to senior management, if required, to ensure appropriate mitigation.
The JHSC will review all minor and serious incident reports, near miss reports, and accident investigation reports at their monthly meeting. Each department will need to establish a process whereby copies of these reports are provided to the JHSC. Upon review of the documents or the "Monthly Summary Template" report, the committee will document (in their minutes) and recommend any additional hazard mitigation in an appropriate manner. This could include:
- reviewing the documents with the appropriate supervisor and employee;
- determining the control measures required; implementing and documenting the approved measures and sharing information with all affected employees and filing the documents appropriately;
- refresher training or formalized training to address the hazard;
- discussion at tailgate and/or monthly health and safety meetings.
E. Participate in accident incident investigations.
All accidents and incidents or those with potential of injury or property damage must be investigated as per OHS Act, Section 30(1).
The term "accident" can be defined as an unplanned event that interrupts the completion of an activity, and that may (or may not) include injury or property damage.
An "incident" usually refers to an unexpected event that did not cause injury or damage this time but had the potential to do so. "Near miss" is also a term used for an event that could have caused harm but did not.
F. Consult with professionals who are qualified to advise the JHSC on specific health and safety issues.
G. Ensure required testing is completed for noise, lighting and controlled products.
A member of the JHSC can perform the required testing if qualified and competent to do so, or consult with, or hire professionals who are technically qualified to advise on specific health and safety issues.
H. Make recommendations to the employer and to employees for improvements in health and safety.
The JHSC will provide a completed "Senior Management Recommendations Template" to a designated senior management representative to be forwarded to the appropriate senior management team for review and further action.
Co-Operation with Committee
Senior Management, Managers and Supervisors, and Employees will co-operate fully with the JHSC by:
- Providing the JHSC with every reasonable facility for carrying out its' functions.
- Allowing the JHSC access to all reports, plans, and records (identified by the JHSC) pertinent to the work of the JHSC.
- Correcting the health and safety hazards in a timely manner.