As Bill 30 begins to come into effect on June 1, 2018, we start to look at what these changes will mean in terms of how we operate our companies. One of the requirements being introduced by Bill 30 is the Joint Health and Safety Committee.
What is a Joint Health and Safety Committee?
The Joint Health and Safety Committee is the communication link between management and workers and encourages the need for safe and competent work from all levels of the company. All workers and employers are accountable for health and safety. Health and Safety Committees are an important part of this internal responsibility system and further ensure that work site parties are aware of their roles and responsibilities in the workplace.
When and Why do you need a Joint Health and Safety Committee?
Alberta Legislation requires that any site when 20 or more workers are present with work lasting more than 90 days, the employer must have a Health and Safety Committee established.
For work sites with more than one employer - any site with 20 or more workers, and the work is expected to last 90 days or more, the prime contractor will coordinate a Health and Safety Committee, or in the absence of a Prime Contractor other contractors will coordinate the appointment of a Health and Safety representative.
What is the role of a Joint Health and Safety Committee?
The Joint Health and Safety Committee has many responsibilities including:
- Promoting health and safety awareness throughout the work force including contractors and suppliers.
- Ensuring the implementation of Committee decisions is followed by workers and contractors.
- Responding to health and safety concerns from workers.
- Helping find solutions to difficult health and safety concerns and problems that can be solved through co-operative efforts. Some of these solutions may involve substitution, elimination, employee training, and review of job procedures, a clarification of safety policy or a special protective equipment device.
- The committee may inspect the worksite for hazards and review all relevant documentation.
- Reviewing health and safety inspection reports to help correct/control hazards.
- Assisting in the investigation of incidents and injuries to determine the correct action to avoid reoccurrence.
- Assist in the development of safety policies and safe job procedures/work practices.
- Reviewing the Health and Safety Program and make improvements as required.
- Assisting with new employee orientation, including site familiarization tours.
- Assisting OHS officers during inspections with the site supervision.
How many members must the Committee have and how are they chosen?
A Joint Health and Safety Committee must consist of at least 4 persons, of whom at least half represent workers who are not in positions of management of the work site.
Committee members are appointed or selected by the workers they represent. The selection process can include a ballet system, or an open vote. The Committee shall have two chairs- 1 to be appointed by the employer, 1 to be appointed by the workers. The chairs will alternate duties. Worker members must work at a worksite to which the committee is established.
The committee must meet at least quarterly (every 3 months) and the committee members names must be posted in a conspicuous place at each work site, such as on the Safety Board.
Do Committee members require any training?
Yes. The employer must ensure that the members of the committee receive training in respect to the duties and functions of a committee.
The employer will ensure that committee members have time away from their regular duties to perform meetings, inspections and address concerns or corrective actions on behalf of the committee.
New legislation and processes can be overwhelming, however there are ways to find support that can assist you in meeting your legislative requirements. If you require any assistance in establishing or training your Joint Health and Safety Committee, please give us a call at Safety Ahead and we would be more than happy to help out!
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