When forming a JHSC in your workplace, the question of the “perfect” number of members is one that comes up time and time again. The quick and easy answer is, that the perfect number of JHSC members is the number that legally required. But, the easiest answer isn’t always the best. The answer may have more considerations beyond legal requirements.
Legal Requirement for JHSC Members
In Ontario, companies with 20-49 employees need to have at least two certified JHSC members; one representing management and one representing workers. Companies with more than 50 employees must have at least four members; the minimum requirement for certified members is still one manager and one worker. However, the split between management and workers need not be even, as long as management members do not outnumber workers.
Other Considerations when Choosing the Number of JHSC Members
You must meet minimum legal requirements when it comes to your company’s JHSC membership. However, sometimes the minimum isn’t the “perfect” number of JHSC members. So, how do you determine what the right mix of members is? Consider the following:
Your JHSC must not have more management representation than worker representation.
If your JHSC is uneven with more managers than workers, you must add worker members to the composition, or reduce the number of management members. Management members must always be less in number than workers, to ensure that workers feel fairly represented by their JHSC.
Your JHSC should have worker representation from all areas, departments, shifts, etc.
If your company has a warehouse, a production floor, an office, and a delivery fleet, your JHSC should ideally have a worker representative from each of these areas, in order to provide a fair representation of your company’s actual workforce.
If your company is very large, you may require a larger JHSC to get fair representation.
Companies with several hundred or thousands of employees are better served by larger JHSCs, because they are more representative of the entire workforce. Recall that the JHSC is in place to advocate for the workforce; so having only 2-3 workers represent 100s of employees is less effective than having 6 or 7 from different shifts, areas, or locations.
Diversity is Key
Having a diverse JHSC is key, so if bringing on more members is needed to diversify, consider doing so. The more diverse the JHSC, the more different perspectives and ideas will be brought forward. That will serve to keep the JHSC effective, inventive, and fresh. Workers with and without disabilities should be encouraged to join in order to ensure that all accommodations and controls are beneficial for all workers, regardless of ability, and that controls don’t inadvertently create any barriers to employment, productivity, or patronage.
The more members you have certified, the more exposure your overall workforce has with health and safety; and that’s a good thing!
If your JHSC terms of reference has length-specific terms, and you have a number of employees joining the Committee and getting certified, then eventually your company will have many current and past JHSC members with a working knowledge of health and safety best practices, hazard recognition, and so on. This benefits both workers and employers – it’s a win-win for everyone.
The JHSC in your workplace serves to keep your workplace safe and healthy. The benefits of a well-organized, efficient, and engaged JHSC are infinite – they span from everything to less lost time claims to better productivity from happy employees.
If you are unsure of how many people you need to build an effective, awesome, and inclusive JHSC at your workplace, contact us, or view our JHSC Part 1 or 2 Training Calendar.
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