Joint Health and Safety Committee

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), all employers with more than five workers are legally required to have a health and safety representative or a Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC), depending on the size of your workforce.

Responsibilities of Health and Safety Representatives and Committees

Health and safety representatives and committees play a pivotal role in ensuring employers remain compliant with the OHSA. They help protect against workplace injury, illness and death by ensuring the workplace is doing everything it can to mitigate health and safety hazards.

A JHSC is responsible for:

  • Identifying workplace hazards;
  • Obtaining information from the employer;
  • Consulting on workplace testing;
  • Making health and safety recommendations to the employer;
  • Investigating work refusals, critical injuries, and fatalities; and
  • Obtaining information from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

Employer Responsibilities Regarding a Joint Health and Safety Committee

Under the OHSA, it is the employer’s duty to cooperate with the JHSC and support the committee in carrying out its functions. Employers must:

  • Provide the committee with any information that the committee is entitled to;
  • Respond to committee recommendations in writing;
  • Provide committee with copies of all written orders and reports issued by the Ministry of Labour; and
  • Report any workplace illnesses, injuries, and deaths to the committee.

JHSC Size Requirements

The size of your workplace dictates your legal requirements for health and safety representation. Every business should have at least one representative.

Number of Workers JHSC Requirements
1 to 5 No health and safety representation is legally required unless your workplace has a designated substance regulation in place (although it is a best practice to have a representative in place)
6 to 19 One health and safety representative is required by law. The workers must elect their health and safety representative. However, if your workplace has a designative substance regulation then you must have a JHSC
20 to 49 Must have a JHSC with at least two members
50 and up Must have a JHSC with at least four members

Legalities of the Joint Health and Safety Committees

Under the OHSA, at least two members of the JHSC (one representing workers and the other representing managers) must be certified under Part 1, Basic Certification and Part II, Workplace-Specific Hazard Training. The Chief Prevention Office of the Ministry of Labour oversees program development and certification enforcement. As an employer, you can choose to have more than two certified representatives.

At least half of the committee must be comprised of employed workers who do not exercise managerial responsibilities. Members of the committee are required to meet at least once every three months. The Province outlines sample templates for JHSC meetings here.

If something were to happen to a worker onsite, failure to comply with JHSC regulations could result in of fines up to $100,000 per person and/or up to 12 months’ imprisonment for those individuals who failed to comply with the OHSA.

Questions? Ask the health and safety experts.

We’re here to help. If you have any questions about developing an internal infrastructure for health and safety representation at your workplace, give our health and safety experts at Peninsula a call at 1-888-216-2550.