Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee (JOHSC)

A Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (JOHSC) is an advisory group consisting of employers and employees working together to improve occupational health and safety in their workplace.

A JOHSC can provide in-depth, practical knowledge of the workplace and often the best solutions to safety problems. Members meet regularly to identify hazards in the workplace, make recommendations to the employer and follow up on safety issues.

While the JOHSC’s role is consultative, working together can be the best way to reduce injury and illness in the workplace.

WorkSafeBC requires a JOHSC in place in workplaces with 20 or more workers. In worksites with nine to 19 workers, a worker representative is required and has the same duties and functions as the JOHSC.

The collective agreement further requires a JOHSC in any workplace classified as a high or medium hazard where there are more than 10 workers.

Committee Basics

  • The committee must have at least four members
  • Employer/supervisor members cannot outnumber worker members
  • Worker members must not exercise managerial functions and are appointed by the union by the formal BCGEU process
  • Employer members—while not necessarily excluded—are appointed by the employer and must exercise supervisory function (e.g. scheduling, signing off on Time and Leave requests, assigning work)
  • Two co-chairs must be chosen, one representing and selected by the worker members, the other by the employer members
  • All groups on a work site must be represented. This might mean that members are included from all unions, departments, shifts and even other ministries if a workplace is shared

JOHSC Key Duties & Responsibilities

  • Conduct regular workplace inspections
  • Investigate accidents and incidents
  • Communicate any work process or environment changes that may impact worksite health and safety to management
  • Attend to worker concerns regarding worksite health and safety
  • Identify potential safety hazards and making recommendations for corrective action to management
  • Consult with and act as a liaison between workers and management on all workplace health and safety matters
  • Participate in refusing unsafe work only once the supervisor has investigated and believes that an undue hazard does not exist

Meetings

  • Must occur at least once a month
  • Minutes must be recorded and posted in the workplace for at least three months. Provide a copy to the local manager/supervisor. The supervisor must make minutes available to the union
  • Minutes must be retained for at least two years and be accessible to staff and WorkSafeBC. Meeting minutes on shared drives or SharePoints accessible to all staff is considered acceptable by WorkSafeBC

Employer Responsibilities

  • Respond within 21 days in writing to any written recommendations from JOHSC when requested
  • Provide committee members time off from work with pay to prepare for and attend committee meetings and to carry out other functions and duties of the committee
  • Provide each committee member up to eight hours of annual educational leave with pay to attend health and safety training
  • Provide the committee with the equipment, premises and clerical personnel necessary for carrying out its duties and functions
  • Post the names and work locations of committee members
  • Post the minutes of the three most recent committee meetings
  • Post any WorkSafeBC orders for the preceding 12 months relating to the committee

JOHSC Training

A JOHSC monitors the effectiveness of the safety program and ensures open communication between workers and the employer on workplace safety issues.

The Learning Centre offers a BCGEU/BC Public Service Agency jointly facilitated two-day occupational health and safety committee training course. This course should be taken by all new members within six months of appointment and on an as-needed basis as a refresher. After the initial training, committee members are entitled to annual educational leave of eight hours per year for continuous safety learning.

Register at the Learning Centre.