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Ontario's Union for fairness, equality and respect at work.

A Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) is comprised of workers at your place of employment who represent the members and the employer. The JHSC is responsible for monitoring and improving health and safety conditions where you work. If you have any questions about the JHSC in your workplace, speak to your Union Representative or contact Local 1006A Health and Safety Representative Rick Young.

Why are Joint Health and Safety Committees important?

Over 200 workers are killed in Ontario every year and it is estimated that 6,000 more die of work-related disease. 

Most employers adhere to a philosophy which puts the onus of safety on workers even though they had little, if any input into the selection of equipment, work process equipment or methods of safeguarding. Your JHSC representatives act as your voice by using their training to counter this approach and developing strategies for the reduction and eliminations of hazards in your workplace.

What do Joint Health and Safety Committees do?

Committees have the power to identify and evaluate potential hazards through activities such as workplace inspections and accident investigations, focusing their attention on employee’s complaints and making recommendations to your employer for the improvement of the health and safety of the workers. OHSA Sec.9 [18]

Does my workplace have to have a Joint Health and Safety Committee?

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) mandates that all workplaces with greater than twenty employees must have a JHSC consisting of at least two members. One worker representative (chosen by the workers or the Union) and one employer representative. Both the worker rep and employer rep must receive training and be certified by a Ministry of Labour approved trainer. If your workplace consists of greater than fifty workers the committee must consist of at least four people with at least one certified worker rep and one certified employer rep. OHSA Sec.9 [2(a)], 9[6(a)(b)]

Is my employer the head of the committee?

No, the committee is co-chaired by a worker rep selected by the workers and an employer rep. Workers have decision making powers and play a role in deciding when inspections and quarterly meetings are held. OHSA Sec.9 [11], 9[33]

How often should my JHSC be doing inspections?

According to the OHSA, inspections of the physical conditions of your workplace should be done on at least once a month by a member representing workers, If possible by a certified member. Your employer must provide your member representative with any information and assistance as may be required for the purpose of carrying out the inspection. OHSA Sec.9 [23], 9[24], 9[26], 9[29]

Are the worker members paid for their time?

A committee member is entitled to be paid for any time they are attending meetings, time preparing for committee meetings, doing inspections and doing investigations. OHSA Sec.9 [34(a)(b)(c)]. 

What happens after an inspection?

After an inspection, a report is filled out and any concerns not addressed immediately are brought to the employer’s attention, in the form of written recommendations, at the JHSC meeting. The employer then has 21 days to respond. The response must contain a timetable for the implementation of the recommendation if the employer agrees with the recommendation or they must give reasons why they disagree with the recommendations. OHSA Sec.9 [20], 9[21]

How and when should I contact the JHSC?

It’s always better to be safe than to be sorry. If you have any concerns about a product you are using, feel uncertain about training you’ve received or are worried about the condition of a machine or tools that you are using contact a member of the JHSC as soon as possible. You are protected under the Occupational Health and Safety Act which guarantees you the right to know about hazards in your workplace, the right to participate in matters that could affect your health or safety at work and the right to refuse unsafe work. If you need to know who your JHSC members are, their names should be posted on your workplace health and safety or Union bulletin board. You can ask your supervisor or you can speak to your Union Representative who will be happy to assist you.

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