JOINT HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMITTEES AND HEALTH AND SAFETY REPRESENTATIVES
Hello, and welcome to another health and safety podcast on MOL Radio.
Today, we're going to look at the roles and responsibilities of Joint Health and Safety Committees, and worker health and safety representatives.
Joint Health and Safety Committees and worker health and safety representatives play a major role in workplaces.
They help ensure the protection of worker health and safety through regular workplace inspections.
They also address issues or concerns relating to the health or safety of the workers with the employer's representative.
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, workers and employers must share the responsibility for occupational health and safety - commonly known as the internal responsibility system.
The act recognizes that workers and employers themselves are in the best position to identify health and safety problems in their workplaces.
And, they are the best positioned to develop solutions.
The act also requires the setting up of joint health and safety committees, or, in smaller workplaces, appointing health and safety representatives.
These committees or representatives are essential for the internal responsibility system to work.
The system engages all workplace parties - from company executives to front line workers.
Everyone must take responsibility for addressing health and safety issues in the workplace.
This can be done by working together to identify potential hazards or concerns, establishing appropriate controls, procedures, and an employer program to implement safe work practices.
Workplaces with five or fewer workers do not typically require either a committee or a worker health and safety representative.
Usually, workplaces with more than five, but fewer than 20 workers, are not required to have a joint health and safety committee.
Instead, workers who do not exercise managerial functions must select, from among themselves, one person to be a health and safety representative.
If the workplace is unionized, the health and safety representative is selected by the union or unions representing the workers.
That person then represents all workers in that workplace.
Workplaces that are required to have a joint health and safety committees include:
• any workplace that regularly employs 20 or more workers, or
• construction projects which are expected to last three months or more, with 20 or more workers who are regularly employed on the project.
There are some other specific instances where a joint health and safety committee is required. Check our website for a more detailed list.
We'll give you the co-ordinates at the end of this podcast segment.
In workplaces with less than 50 workers, the act requires the committee to have a minimum of two members.
Where there are 50 or more workers, the committee must have at least four members.
At least half the members on a committee must represent workers.
The remaining members represent management.
If the workplace is unionized, the union must select the worker representatives.
If there is no union in the workplace, the worker representatives must be chosen by the workers.
Whenever possible, committees should represent the health and safety concerns of the entire workplace.
For example, if a workplace has a plant, office, laboratory and warehouse, each of these areas should be represented on the committee.
At least two members - one management and one worker representative - must be trained and certified.
For more information on the training required, please go to our website.
In conclusion … joint health and safety committees and worker representatives are in the front line of health and safety in their workplaces.
They stimulate awareness of health and safety among their colleagues, and are integral to the internal responsibility system.
However, as we said in the beginning of this podcast, the ultimate responsibility for a healthy and safe workplace lies with everyone - from front line staff right up to the chief executives.
For more information on joint health and safety committees and worker representatives and on how they function, please go to our website.
The address is Ontario.ca - forward slash - labour - that's l-a-b-o-u-r.
Once again, ontario.ca - forward slash - labour.
Go to the health and safety section.
There, under Key Resources, click on to the Guide for JHSCs.
That will take you to all the information you will need.
And that's it for this health and safety segment.
Thank you for listening.