Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees
Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees (JOHSC) play a key role in workplace health and safety. These committees are made up of employers and employees working together to improve occupational health and safety in their workplace by making recommendations to the employer on workplace health and safety matters.
The Workers Compensation Act requires employers to establish a JOHSC in each workplace where they regularly employ 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 they employ more than 9 but fewer than 20 employees. 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 Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee, please reach out to your union office. If you are a non-unionized employee, please let your supervisor or manager know that you are interested in becoming a member of your JOHSC.
Everyone on the committee has a role to play.
Let’s learn more about what a Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee is and some of the committee requirements.
- The committee must have at least four members and at least half the members must be worker representatives;
- Employer representatives 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 (for non-unionized workers);
- The number of worker representatives on a committee must be in 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 co-chair and one worker co-chair;
- The JOHSC must meet at least once a month every month;
- It’s best practice for each committee member to have an alternate;
- Minutes of meetings (a record of what was discussed) must be formally recorded, posted in the workplace in a way that’s readily accessible to employees, and shared with committee members and relevant unions;
- The committee must develop its own Terms of Reference that describes how it will do its 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 members of the committee;
- Identify situations that may be unsafe or unhealthy and advise the employer on how to address them;
- Consult with workers and the employer on improvements to health and safety and make recommendations;
- 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 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 wages for the time you attend the training are paid by your employer.
All new JOHSC members are required to take 8 hours of mandatory training within the first 6 months of joining the committee;
All JOHSC members are entitled to 8 hours of annual educational leave each year to attend occupational health & safety education and 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, SafeCareBC Learning Space, and the BCFED Health and Safety Centre.