Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees
Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees (JOHSC) play a key role in workplace health and safety. The committees are made up of employers and employees working together to improve occupational health and safety in the workplace.
The Workers Compensation Act requires employers to establish a JOHSC in any workplace that regularly employs 20 or more employees (full time, part time and casual). An employer is required to have a Worker Health and Safety Representative at any workplace where there are more than 9 employees but fewer than 20. A Worker Health and Safety Representative has the same duties and functions as a JOHSC.
If you are a unionized employee interested in becoming a member of your JOHSC, please reach out to your union.
If you are a non-unionized employee, please let your supervisor or manager know you are interested in becoming a JOHSC member.
Everyone on the committee has a role to place in workplace health and safety.
Learn more about what a Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee is and some of the committee requirements.
- The committee must have at least 4 members and at least half of the members must be worker representatives;
- Employer represenatatives on the committee are selected by the employer from among employees who have managerial duties;
- Worker representatives on the committee are selected by their union (for unionized workers) or by their co-workers (non-unionized employees);
- The number of worker representatives on a committee must be equitable proportion to the relative number of workers at the workplace and their unions, and the relative risk in the work they do;
- The committee must have two co-chairs: one employer and one worker;
- The JOHSC must meet at least once a month;
- It is best practice for each member to have an alternate;
- Minutes of meetings (a record of what was discussed) must be formally recorded and posted in the workplace in a way that’s easy to access for all employees and shared with committee members and relevant unions;
- The committee must develop its own Terms of Reference that describes how it will work;
- The committee must conduct an annual evaluation to assess its overall effectiveness.
- Attend all committee meetings or arrange for your alternate to attend and be prepared to participate as an equal with other committee members;
- Identify situations that may be unsafe or unhealthy and advise the employer how to address them;
- Consult workers and the employer on improvements to health and safety and make recommendations toward improvement;
- Participate in workplace inspections and accident or incident investigations;
- Remind co-workers of their health and safety rights and encourage them to report concerns to the committee;
- Inform your supervisor when attending to committee business;
- Attend safety training, using the 8-hour annual educational leave entitlement;
- Foster knowledge and promote compliance with the OHS Regulation;
- Be familiar with legislation and OHS Regulation, your employer’s safety policies, and your JOHSC Terms of Reference.
The composition and administration of the committee includes the following:
JOHSC training and the wages for the time you attend training is paid for by your employer.
All new JOHSC members are required to take 8 hours of mandatory training and instruction within their first 6 months of joining the committee;
All JOHSC members are entitled to 8 hours of annual education leave to attend occupational health & safety training.
If you are a unionized employee, your collective agreement might provide for additional JOHSC education and training.
Requests for training should be brought to your JOHSC for discussion and decision, like any other committee business.
Providers of training include: LearningHUB or iLearn, SafeCare BC’s Learning Space, and the BCFED Health and Safety Centre.