Part I: Joint Health and Safety Committee
How to Set Up a Joint Health and Safety Committee
At their core, the purpose of a JHSC is to promote the 3 basic rights of workers in this province. These being: the right to know, participate and refuse dangerous work. How you go about providing these rights is largely up to your company. However, there are requirements set in the OHS legislation which tell you when and how your JHSC committee must be implemented.
Committee or Representative?
As you may be aware, the requirements surrounding JHSC’s in the province of Alberta have recently changed. Currently, a JHSC is legally required if you have more than 20 employees working longer than 90 days (full or part-time). Fewer than this, and you are responsible for designating a representative – not a whole committee.
If your number of workers varies over the course of the year, the number is determined by; the average number of full and part-time workers employed at your worksite over the previous 12 months. Or; since operations began if the worksite was established fewer than 12 months ago.
What about worksites with more than one employer? If you have designated a prime contractor, they are responsible for setting up the committee or designating the representative. If you have not designated a prime contractor, you and any other employers must work together to establish a committee/designate the representative.
The following decision tree can help determine whether your business requires a full committee, or a representative:
What are my Responsibilities?
Regardless of whether you have a full committee or just a representative, the responsibilities are the same;
- Helping employers respond to health and safety concerns,
- Developing health and safety policies and safe work procedures,
- Developing and promoting education and training programs (including new hire orientations),
- Participating in worksite inspections and investigations, and
- Investigating worker reports of dangerous work and refusal to work.
As an employer/prime contractor, you are required to support the JHSC or representative. You can do so by providing resources, time and training. This ensures that the duties of your committee/ representative can be If you have designated a representative, you (or prime contractor) must make time to meet with the rep to discuss health and safety concerns. As well, you must work with that rep to establish a meeting frequency and record-keeping strategy. These should work to promote the success of the above-mentioned requirements.effectively completed.
What Does a Committee Look Like?
If your circumstances require you to establish a committee, there are specific requirements for the make-up, such as; At least 4 members must be enlisted – 2 of which must be worker representatives chosen by the workers. Employees must select one of their worker representatives as a co-chair.
The other 2 members must be employer representatives, assigned by the employer. Again, one of your 2 employer representatives must be selected as a co-chair. Positions will hold office for a term not less than one year and may continue past this point until their successors have been appointed.
Once your committee or representative has been established, you must hold a meeting within 10 days. After that initial meeting, the frequency is up to the committee/representative – as long as it is at least once every quarter. All activities of your committee/representative (including meetings) must be held during your normal working hours. The names and contact information of your committee members/representatives must be clearly posted. This allows all workers to have clear access to their health and safety representation.
Questions about setting up your Joint Health and Safety Committee or designating a representative? Contact JADA Solutions (HSE) Inc. to talk to a professional!