Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) membership has multiple benefits, including training and professional development opportunities, participation in the workplace decision-making process and working with peers and workplace leaders. Being a member of the JHSC means you will have the opportunity to be a direct reason that your colleagues are able to safely return home to loved ones at the end of the workday.
Why then, given the bounty of benefits to JHSC membership, can it be so difficult for employers to recruit willing members for their Joint Health and Safety Committees? It often comes down to a gap in communicating expectations. If workers do not understand what is required of them, they are less likely to join the JHSC. If the time required, roles and responsibilities, training required, and the goals of the committee are not clearly communicated, then many employers run the risk of not recruiting the best members for the JHSC. Additionally, workers tend to under-estimate the value that that their contribution adds to the safety of the workplcae, and employers need to make this explicit! One of the most effective ways to generate interest in the Joint Health and Safety Committee and recruit willing, and enthusiastic employees is to ensure you provide clear communication.
OSG recommends the following tips for recruiting workers and managers to join the JHSC:
1. Clearly state the time commitment required
Employees who would like to be part of the JHSC may be reluctant if they think they will be completing JHSC activities on their off work time. All time spent fulfilling their role as a JHSC member should be paid.
Ensure you clearly state the meeting schedule ahead of time, to allow your members enough time to plan ahead, and manage their workload accordingly. Be consistent. For example, schedule meetings every third monday of the month. It is also very advantageous if you can provide a meeting agenda in advance. This agenda will clearly set expectations for the meeting and be sure to allow time for members to submit feedback on the propsed agenda items. Earn your members trust and show them you value their time by sticking to the agenda and meeting schedule. You may also encouter reluctance from those who fear that work will build up while they complete JHSC-related duties. You can alleviate this stress by assigning someone to help them complete their work during particularly busy times.
2. Clearly state JHSC goals
Your JHSC goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely). JHSC goals should not be a list of to-do items or tasks. Some workers may not fully understand the overall goals of the committee, which would include ensuring worker safety and creating an injury-free, happy, healthy, and safe workplace. The committee serves to represent a voice through which workers may have their health and safety concerns heard, and recommend actions for the employer to address these concerns.
3. Clearly state Roles and Responsibilities
Roles and responsibilities of specific members will differ from company to company. Whatever your company and JHSC needs are, be sure to explain how each role will be defined and fulfilled. Explain the role of co-chairs, worker members, manager members, and recorders or clerks. Provide an outline of the overall size and representation (for example, the number of managers and the number of worker members – the more worker members the better) of the JHSC, in addition to the selection/nomination process, so that all workers and potential JHSC members will view the JHSC representation as equitable.
4. Clearly State Training Requirements
Ensure you communicate JHSC training requirements during the recruiting process. Let your employees know that they will earn a JHSC certification from the Ministry of Labour that they can add to their portfolio after completing 5 paid days of JHSC training. Communicate the benefits of JHSC training, that it is very useful, applicable to the workplace, and a definite value-added bonus for any employee. When taken with OSG trainers, it’s fun, relevant, and entertaining. See for yourself, meet our trainers! It gives employees the tools they need to effectively make positive change in their workplace. Set your JHSC members up for success with training from OSG!
5. Lead by Example
Allow workers the opportunity to take on leadership roles within the committee. Do not let managers take over or use the JHSC as a platform for their own agendas. Be sure to take action on identified items, because then workers will see that their contributions and recommendations are valued, and are resulting in tangible, positive changes in the workplace. Acknowledge the effort made by the committee.
Do You Need Help Getting Started?
Having an active JHSC is one of the best ways to generate employee interest in workplace safety.
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If you have any questions about starting, running or improving your JHSC, or how to recruit workers to join, call 1-800-815-9980 to speak to a Health and Safety expert today!