The importance of Joint OH&S Committees and Safety Representatives
Do you have health and safety concerns at work?
It’s time to reach out to your Joint OH&S Committee or Worker Health and Safety Representative.
If your workplace has 20 or more workers you need a Joint OH&S Committee. This Committee is made up of Employer and Worker Representatives. If your workplace has 9-20 workers you need to have a Worker Health and Safety Representative.
You should contact the Worker Representatives on the Joint OH&S Committee with any health and safety concerns you have. This is especially important during the pandemic to ensure safe workplaces. The Worker Representatives should discuss your health and safety concerns with the Joint OH&S Committee and find solutions to your concerns. You should also report health and safety issues to your manager, so the employer is aware of the issue.
If you don’t know who your Worker Representatives are, you can look at the Joint OH&S Committee meeting minutes that should be posted in each workplace. If you can’t find these, ask your employer who the Worker Representatives are on the Joint OH&S Committee.
What Joint OH&S Committees and Worker Health and Safety Representatives Do
The Joint OH&S Committee plays an important role in your occupational health and safety program, giving workers and employers a way to work together to identify and find solutions to workplace health and safety issues. The Joint OH&S Committee has the following specific duties and functions:
- Identify situations that may be unhealthy or unsafe for workers, and advise on effective systems for responding to those situations
- Consider, and promptly deal with complaints relating to the health and safety of workers
- Consult with workers and the employer on issues related to occupational health and safety, and the occupational environment
- Make recommendations to the employer and the workers for the improvement of the occupational health and safety, and the occupational environment of workers
- Make recommendations to the employer on educational programs promoting the health and safety of workers and compliance with Part 3 of the Workers Compensation Act and the regulations, and to monitor their effectiveness
- Advise the employer on programs and policies required under the regulations for the workplace, and to monitor their effectiveness
- Advise the employer on proposed changes to the workplace, including significant proposed changes to equipment and machinery, or the work processes that may affect the health or safety of workers
- Ensure that accident investigations and regular inspections are carried out as required
- Participate in inspections, investigations and inquiries as provided in Part 3 of the Workers Compensation Act and Section 3 of the Regulation
In workplaces where a worker health and safety representative is required, the representative has the same duties and functions as a joint committee, to the extent practicable.
You should not be reprimanded or disciplined for raising health and safety concerns at your workplace. It is your duty to do so!
If your location needs Joint OH&S Committee members and you’d like to join, contact MoveUP for more information.