DENTAL PRACTICE ARTICLES
Joint Health and Safety Committees
Do you need a Certified Health and Safety Representative or a Joint Health and Safety Committee
Joint Health and Safety Committees (JHSCs) have an important role in an organization’s health and safety program. The main purpose of JHSCs is to ensure that health and safety concerns are identified and addressed, through hazard recognition, assessment control and evaluation, and presenting recommendations to the employer. JHSCs play a major role in a company’s internal responsibility system, which is a forum for employee participant, a right within the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA)
Do you need a Joint Health and Safety Committees (JHSCs) in your dental office? The answer is that it depends on the number of employees that are in your office. If you have 4 employees or less, you do not require a Health and Safety Representative or a Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC).
When You Need a Health and Safety Representative
If you have 5 – 19 employees, you must have at least one Health and Safety Representative. This person should be non-management and selection by the other employees. The dentist is required to send the Health and Safety Rep. for training. The Ministry of Labour offers training courses at various locations. The employer must also pay the employee at his/her regular rate of pay while attending the courses. To find where Certification courses are being held near you, go to http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/prevention/cert_training.php to find a suitable location.
When You Need a Joint Health and Safety Committee
If your office has 20-49 workers, you require a Joint Health and Safety Committee, consisting of at least 2 members, one selected by management and one by co-workers. At least one of the members must be a Certified worker. A Health and Safety Committee meeting must be held at least every three months and the minutes must be kept on file and provided to the Ministry of Labour inspector if requested.
If your organization has 50+ workers, you need at least 4 members on the Joint Health and Safety Committee. Two must be non-management and selected by the workers. At least one management and one worker must be a certified member. The requirements for meetings and recording of minutes are the same as the JHSC for 20-49 workers.
What if You Own Multiple Practices?
A multi-workplace JHSC may be established where employees at geographically separate workplace are under the ownership and/or leadership of one employer. The organization may establish a JHSC covering some or all of these workplaces only with written permission from the Regional Director of the Ministry of Labour. The proposed arrangemen4ts should satisfy the recommended Ministry of Labour criteria and be signed by management and worker representatives.
The principle of internal responsibility means that employers and workers each have responsibility for health and safety in the workplace. It is built on the self-reliance of workplace parties and means that employers and employees must be responsible for eliminating hazards in their workplace, and for achieving optimum health and safety performance. To promote the internal responsibility system, the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) creates an interlocking set of duties, obligations and rights on the part of employers, supervisors and workers. The Ministry of Labour determines if duties and obligations are fulfilled and the Joint Health and Safety Committee has the role of monitoring and supporting your internal responsibility system that helps keep employees safe at work.
Author: Sandie Baillargeon