Joint Work Site Health and Safety Committee

In Alberta, the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act requires businesses to have a health and safety representative (HSR) or joint work site health and safety committee (HSC). Together with the employer, this individual or group is responsible for addressing health and safety concerns in the workplace. Business owners must adhere to the requirements below:

  • Businesses with 5-19 employees must have a health and safety representative: This representative must be chosen by employees.
  • Businesses with 20 employees or more must have a joint work site health and safety committee: The committee must consist of at least 4 members and half must represent the workers.

A HSR and HSC support the rights of workers, including their three basic rights: the right to know, the right to participate and the right to refuse work they believe is unsafe.

Joint Work Site Health and Safety Committee

Joint work site health and safety committees must be established by the employer. At least half of the committee’s members must be selected as representatives by the workers. The rest of the members are assigned by the employer.

Additionally, committees must have two co-chairpersons. One co-chair must be elected by the workers and the second co-chair must be elected by the employer.

Responsibilities & Requirements

The committee and representative help employers ensure a safe workplace. This includes consulting and aiding with the following duties:

  • Responding to the health and safety concerns of workers
  • Creating health and safety policies and establishing safe work practices
  • Creating education and training programs
  • Participating in workplace inspections and investigations
  • Investigating worker reports of unsafe work and refusals to work
  • New employee onboarding for health and safety in the workplace

Employers and representatives must decide when to meet and how to record their meetings.

HSC meetings must also follow certain requirements to comply with the OHS Act. Firstly, the committee must meet 10 days after establishment and must continue to meet once every quarter thereafter. These meetings and any related health and safety functions must take place during work hours and be paid for as regular work. Minutes must be made of the meeting, and these must be available for inspection by an HSC member or OHS officer. Finally, meetings must meet quorum before the committee can reach a decision.

Employer responsibilities

Employers must allow representatives and committees time to meet and provide them with the resources they need. Members’ names and contact information must be posted in a conspicuous location.

Do you have health and safety questions?

Call us to find out what the OHS legislation requires of your business. Our Health and Safety advisors can walk you through the steps of establishing a health and safety committee or electing a health and safety representative: 1(888) 207-0657.