The Perfect Number of Joint Health & Safety Committee (JHSC) Members
Written by Jenn Miller | Curriculum Development Coordinator
When forming a JHSC in your workplace, the question of the “perfect” number of members is one that comes up time and time again. The easy answer is, that the perfect number of JHSC members is whatever is legally required. Not so fast – the answer may have more considerations beyond legal requirements.
Legal Requirement for JHSC Members
In Ontario, Companies with 20-49 employees need to have at least two certified JHSC members; one representing management and one representing workers. Companies with more than 50 employees must have 4 members. The minimum requirement for certified members is still one management and one worker; however, the split between management and workers need not be even, as long as management members do not outnumber workers.
Other Considerations when choosing the Number of JHSC Members
You must meet minimum legal requirements when it comes to your company’s JHSC membership. However, sometimes the minimum isn’t the “perfect” number of JHSC members. So, how do you determine what the right mix of members is? Consider the following:
Your JHSC must not have more management representation than worker representation.
If your JHSC is uneven with more managers than workers, you must add worker members to the composition. Management members must always be less in number than workers, to ensure that workers feel fairly represented by their Joint Health and Safety Committee.
Your JHSC should have worker representation from all areas, departments, shifts, etc.
If your company has a warehouse, a production floor, an office, and a delivery fleet, your JHSC should ideally have a worker representative from each of these areas, in order to provide a fair representation of your company’s actual workforce.
If your company is very large, you may require a larger JHSC to get fair representation.
Companies with several hundred or thousands of employees are better served by larger JHSCs, because they are more representative of the entire workforce. Recall that the JHSC is in place to advocate for the workforce; so having only 2-3 workers represent 100s of employees is less effective than having 6 or 7 from different shifts.
The more members you have certified, the more exposure your overall workforce has with health and safety; and that’s a good thing!
If your JHSC terms of reference state three-year terms, and you have a number of employees joining the Committee and getting certified, then eventually your company will have many current and past JHSC members with a working knowledge of health and safety best practices, hazard recognition, and so on. This benefits both workers and employers – it’s a win-win for everyone.
The JHSC in your workplace serves to keep your workplace safe and healthy. The benefits of a well-organized, efficient, and engaged JHSC are infinite – they span from everything to less lost time claims to better productivity from happier employees.
If you are unsure how to get a JHSC started, how to certify your current members, or what the best composition for your company might look like, OSG can help. We have been successfully training JHSC members for over 20 years, and we are the largest provider of private JHSC committee certification training in Ontario. When it comes to JHSC – we know our stuff! Call 800-815-9980 to speak to one of our health and safety experts or view our JHSC part 1 or 2 training below.
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