Part II: Joint Health and Safety Committee Meetings

Joint Health and Safety Committee Meetings – an excuse to get coffee and donuts or a valuable workplace resource? The answer depends on you! 

Hold up! Have you read Part One of this JHSC blog series?

JHSC Meetings: What the Heck Happens? 

health and safety committee meeting table

So you’ve set up your health and safety committee – now what? You must hold your first meeting within 10 days of the committee’s initiation. Before this initial committee meeting, there must be some preparation to ensure a smooth process. If you have already selected two co-chairs (one employer representative and one worker representative), one of those individuals must agree to chair the first meeting; co-chairs will alternate chairing meetings to equalize responsibilities. 

Once the chair of your first meeting has been appointed, your meeting can be scheduled – remember, this must be within normal working hours.

Reaching the Quorum

Once the day of the meeting arrives, you must reach your quorum to move forward with the meeting. Quorum is considered reached if both worker and employer members are present. As well, at least half of those present should be worker representatives. Your meeting is not considered valid if the quorum is not reached.  

How to Proceed

You can proceed with the meeting once your quorum is reached. Your co-chairs must ensure that meeting minutes are recorded – it is up to your committee to appoint a minute-taker. Your committee must approve of the meeting minutes before presenting them to the employer. The next step is to post the minutes publicly at your worksite within 7 days of the meeting date. You must retain copies of the minutes for at least 2 years and have them readily available if an OHS officer requests them. 

If you don’t have a full committee, the representative must meet regularly with the employer (or prime contractor) to discuss and record health and safety concerns. In the case of urgent safety concerns at your worksite (or as per an OHS officer request), emergency meetings of your committee or between your representative and employer/prime contractor can be called. 

Topics of Discussion

We’ve made it this far – we have everyone in a room, a co-chair, and a minute-taker. What should we discuss? The agenda of topics discussed should always keep the purpose of the committee in mind: promotion and maintenance of the physical, psychological and social well-being of the workplace.

To this end, one of the first tasks of your committee should be to develop a workplace health and safety program. The program must include (at minimum);

  • A health and safety policy; 
  • A process of hazard identification;
  • An emergency response plan;
  • Employer/supervisor/worker responsibilities;
  • Schedule and procedures for inspections.
  • General protection of worker health and safety;
  • Worker and supervisor orientation and training,
  • Investigating incidents, injuries, and work refusals;
  • Worker participation in worksite health and safety;
  • Review and revision of the health and safety program itself.

    If no hazard assessments have been complete to date, this is a great place to start. 

Alternate Starting Points

Worksite inspections are another great starting point. Your committee is required to complete inspections at regular intervals, at least once per quarter (before each meeting). Establishing an inspection schedule and procedure is a perfect place to start at your first meeting.

Lastly, with the changes to OHS legislation comes increased attention to the prevention of violence and harassment at the workplace. The committee is responsible for assisting in the development of a harassment prevention plan, which is a good first step towards addressing this important issue.  

Tips for Successful JHSC Meetings

Regardless of the specifics of that first meeting (and those that follow), the committee/representative should strive to ensure their activities are working towards the goal of a physically, psychologically and socially safe workplace.

The following are tips for ensuring your committee/representative are working effectively towards this goal:

  • Always be ready to listen to the concerns of other workers; 
  • Set a good example; 
  • Ensure that all unsafe equipment and conditions identified are addressed appropriately; 
  • Never give up on any concern that is unresolved; 
  • Avoid becoming involved in matters that are not health and safety concerns; 
  • Do not exceed your authority; 
  • Never interfere with equipment controls; 
  • Get help in situations you don’t understand. Always be ready to listen to the concerns of other workers; 
  • Set a good example; 
  • Ensure that all unsafe equipment and conditions identified are addressed appropriately; 
  • Never give up on any unresolved concern.

Do you have questions about JHSC meetings, what they look like and/or how to implement them? Contact our team today, our professionals are able to guide you.

How Can We Help You?

Contact us at JADA Solutions (HSE) Inc. to speak with one of our professionals!


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