In Ontario, the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) plays a crucial role in promoting and maintaining a safe and healthy workplace. As an employer, understanding the function and power of the JHSC is essential for complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and for protecting the well-being of your employees. In this blog post, we will provide an overview of the JHSC and its role in Ontario workplaces.
The Role of the JHSC
The JHSC is a legally mandated committee that consists of both employer and employee representatives. The committee is responsible for identifying and addressing health and safety concerns in the workplace, and for promoting a culture of safety among workers.
Under the OHSA, employers with 20 or more workers are required to establish a JHSC, while smaller employers are encouraged to do so on a voluntary basis. The committee typically meets on a regular basis to discuss health and safety issues, review accident reports, and make recommendations for improving workplace safety.
The Power of the JHSC
The JHSC has the power to investigate health and safety concerns and make recommendations to the employer for addressing those concerns. In addition, the committee has the authority to request that the Ministry of Labour conduct an inspection of the workplace if it believes that there are serious health and safety issues that need to be addressed.
The JHSC also has the power to stop work if it believes that there is an immediate danger to the health or safety of workers. This authority is granted under Section 43 of the OHSA, which allows the committee to issue a “stop work” order if it believes that conditions in the workplace are likely to cause serious injury or illness.
The Importance of Employee Involvement
One of the key strengths of the JHSC is its emphasis on employee involvement in workplace health and safety. The OHSA requires that at least half of the members of the JHSC be workers who are elected by their peers. This ensures that the perspectives and concerns of workers are taken into account when making decisions about health and safety.
The involvement of workers in the JHSC also helps to promote a culture of safety in the workplace. When workers have a say in the development and implementation of health and safety policies, they are more likely to take those policies seriously and to follow them on the job.
Meeting Your JHSC Requirements
As an employer in Ontario, it is important to understand your obligations under the OHSA with respect to the JHSC. If you are required to establish a JHSC, you must do so within three months of the date on which you become subject to the OHSA.
You must also provide the necessary training and support to the members of the JHSC, including training on the OHSA and its requirements, as well as on the specific health and safety hazards present in your workplace.
In conclusion, the JHSC is a vital component of the health and safety system in Ontario. By promoting employee involvement and giving the committee the power to investigate and address health and safety concerns, the OHSA ensures that workplaces are safer and healthier for everyone. As an employer, it is important to understand your obligations under the OHSA with respect to the JHSC and to support the committee in its efforts to maintain a safe and healthy workplace.