Introduction

The Joint Health & Safety Committee (JHSC) as Workplace Change Agents

The Joint Health & Safety Committee (JHSC) as Workplace Change Agents

Many businesses have identified that stagnancy doesn’t promote growth; most growth is the result of the change, adaptation, and natural evolution. So, within a business, there are many change agents in place that help drive and support organizational changes.

A change agent in business is someone who promotes, enables, and supports organizational change. For instance, change agents may be integral to the support and success of:

  • New processes
  • New management structures
  • The transformation of a business model
  • The company culture
  • The safety culture

Without change agents in place, it may be relatively difficult for employers to get buy-in from workers. In order for a change to be installed successfully, workers need to understand the reason for change. Change agents can help others recognize the need for change, thereby increasing worker buy-in.  

How the Joint Health & Safety Committee (JHSC) Plays a Part in Change

When an organization recognizes the need to change the safety culture in the workplace it is usually in response to a culture that’s become complacent. Often, a shift in safety culture is unsuccessful because there is no top-down support. Without that support, buy-in doesn’t happen. The change is either temporary and ends by slipping back into old patterns, or there is no change at all.

That’s where the JHSC can become powerful agents for change. Instead of having a JHSC that just goes through the motions, empower the JHSC to revitalize the safety program in the workplace.

How to Activate the JHSC

As most general change theories agree, the first step in implementing any change is recognizing the need for change. If an organization does not recognize that it needs to increase safety culture, it will be difficult to implement changes. Why? Because in order to create meaningful buy-in, there must be a recognized and agreed upon the need for change. Along with the need to recognize change, there needs to be communication, learning, and involvement from the JHSC in order for their full potential as change agents to be recognized.

Communication: Communicating the need for change will indicate the urgency for change. In this case, have JHSC members do more than just post inspection checklists to the board every month. Encourage them to talk to workers. For instance:

  • Ensure that JHSC members talk to workers during inspections
  • Make sure that JHSC members make themselves available during work hours so that people can bring concerns to their attention or ask questions
  • Have the JHSC hype membership to non JHSC members and make the JHSC something people want to be a part of

Learning: A trained JHSC is an effective JHSC. Ensure that the JHSC is knowledgeable and confident in their skills. A well-trained JHSC will understand what it takes to drive positive changes to the workplace safety culture.

Involvement: Allow employees to be involved in organizational safety culture changes. JHSC membership is a great way to be involved, but even workers who aren’t on the JHSC can be a part of the change. They can do this through reporting and having open and positive discussions about workplace safety with JHSC members.

When it comes to changing the safety culture within your organization, don’t overlook the JHSC as a tool for change; activate them. They are powerful change agents, and they have the power to usher in positive changes to safety culture. The JHSC plays an important role in the overall maintenance of your organization’s safety culture, so having their buy-in is first and foremost in creating lasting and positive organizational change!

Written by Jennifer Miller | Curriculum Development Coordinator


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