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JHSC/Health & Safety Representative

One of the basic principles of the Occupational Health and Safety Act is the right of all workers to participate in matters affecting workplace health and safety. One provision of the OHSA that makes this participation possible is the requirement for a Health and Safety Representative (HSR) or Joint (labour and management) Health and Safety Representative (HSR).

By allowing input from all parties and encouraging consensus resolutions, JHSC members are able to participate in all aspects of the health and safety program. An effective health and safety program must have the support of all workplace parties in pursuit of a common objective, which is the well-being of all personnel, at the jobsite.

Health and Safety Representative

An HSR is required in one of the following situations:

  • when more than 5 workers are regularly employed at a construction project and the work is expected to last less than three months
  • when 6 to 19 workers are employed at a project and the work is expected to last more than three months.

The powers and responsibilities of an HSR can be found in section 8 of the OHSA. They include the following:

  • Must be familiar with the OHSA, the Construction Projects regulation (213/91), the procedures for refusing unsafe work, and the emergency response procedures at the project
  • Must conduct monthly inspections of the project
  • Can identify health and safety hazards and make recommendations or report their findings to the employer
  • Can inspect the place, machine, device, etc., where a fatality or critical injury occurred and report their findings to the MOL.
  • If an HSR is required on a site, that person must be identified by name, trade, and employer.

Joint Health and Safety Committee

A JHSC (instead of an HSR) is required when 20 or more workers are regularly employed at a construction project and the work is expected to last more than three months.

For less than 50 workers, the JHSC must have at least two members, one from labour and one from management.

For 50 or more workers, the JHSC must have at least four members, half from labour and half from management. NOTE: At least one worker member and one management member must be a Certified Member. This means that they have successfully completed Part 1 and Part 2 of the JHSC Certification courses (unless they were previously certified prior to February 29, 2016).

The powers and responsibilities of a JHSC can be found in section 9 of the OHSA. They include the following:

  • Inspect the workplace at least once a month.
  • Identify actual and potential hazards in the workplace.
  • Meet at least once every three months.
  • Maintain written minutes of the JHSC meetings.
  • Report findings and make written recommendations to senior management.
  • Support the implementation and maintenance of the company safety program.
  • Review inspection and incident reports.

Samples

On large, multi-trade projects, the JHSC may decide to establish a Worker Trades Committee (WTC) to represent workers employed in each of the trades at the workplace. A WTC informs the JHSC about any health and safety concerns of the workers they represent.

If a JHSC or WTC is required on site, the members must be identified by name and trade (labour) or name and employer (management).

Links to other topics

Links to existing IHSA and MOL material

Caution/Disclaimer

The samples provided are intended to be modified to meet company or site-specific requirements. Without such modifications, they may not be appropriate. Although IHSA believes that the information provided is consistent with the legal requirements and/or good industry practices which prevailed at the time the information was compiled, users of this information are urged to check with current regulations, local/trade practices and the most recent edition of the reference material to ensure that it is still appropriate.

Last Updated: March 12, 2020

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