Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) meetings may differ slightly from typical business meetings, but the difference is primarily in the discussion topic, not how the meetings are conducted. By any other definition, a JHSC meeting is a meeting, and that means that a JHSC meeting is susceptible to the same pitfalls as business meetings, including:
1. Not starting off on track
2. Not understanding your role in the meeting
3. Thinking only the leader can correct off-track conversations
4. Seemingly unrelated feedback or input
Each of these pitfalls has the ability to throw a meeting completely off track. Left uncorrected, the meeting may not be effective and the attendees may feel that their time was wasted. JHSC meetings have been proven to be an infinitely valuable use of time, related directly to an organization’s success. So, it is imperative that the time dedicated to JHSC meetings is effectively managed. Use OSG’s Five Expert Tips below to keep your JHSC meetings on track, effective, and efficient!
Problem: The meeting doesn’t start on track
How to resolve the problem: Always create an agenda for JHSC meetings. Distribute it ahead of time to ensure that members arrive prepared to discuss what’s listed. To download a meeting agenda template, click here.
Problem: Not understanding your role in the meeting
How to resolve the problem: If you have been assigned a specific role in a JHSC meeting, such as secretary or co-chair, this needs to be indicated in the agenda so that you are prepared. A solid Terms of Reference will help ensure that everybody understands the different roles on the Committee, and how to effectively fill them. Knowing your role will ensure that meetings start and remain on track, as attendees seamlessly fulfill their roles instead of creating slow-downs resulting from being unsure of what their presence brings to the table.
Problem: Believing that only the leader can correct off-track behaviour
How to resolve the problem: Sometimes, a meeting is allowed to remain off track far longer than it would if a peer stepped in to correct the off-track behaviour. This happens because of a misconception that only the leader can bring a meeting back into focus. On the contrary, any member of the JHSC can step in and re-focus a meeting! Be sure to read Tip #4 to ensure that you aren’t mistaking off-track behaviour with off-topic, but relevant, contributions.
Problem: Seemingly unrelated interruptions or feedback
How to resolve the problem: If you believe that a member has contributed a point that is unrelated, do not instantly dismiss the point or admonish the member for getting off-topic. First, ask the member how their point is related to what is being discussed or what is on the agenda. Inferences are powerful, and something seemingly unrelated may actually be connected to the topic somehow. Ask the member to explain the connection between their contribution and what’s being discussed, and if it appears that it wasn’t related after all, refer to tip #3 and bring the meeting quickly back to focus. If the point was unrelated but important, return to it when it’s appropriate.
How to resolve the problem: Everybody likes to chat about their weekends, interests, kids, and work successes; however, a JHSC meeting is not the proper forum for this type of chatter. Socializing for even a short time can steal your meeting right out from under you – don’t let this happen! Motivate your JHSC and help them work as a team by holding periodic social or team-building events as both a way to thank them for their efforts and a way for them socialize and get to know one another on a personal level.
JHSC meetings may get off track for a number of reasons. Being able to identify these a head of time and take both proactive and reactive actions to prevent or correct it is essential! Try these tips at your next JHSC meeting and see the difference it makes.
If you have questions about holding effective and successful JHSC meetings, OSG can help. We have been successfully training JHSC members for over 20 years, and we are the largest provider of private JHSC committee certification training in Ontario. When it comes to JHSC – we know our stuff! Call 1.800.815.9980 to speak to one of our health and safety experts today, or book your JHSC Part 1 or Part 2 training online now!
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Written by Jennifer Miller | Curriculum Development Coordinator