Recent changes strengthen Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees

Three changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation were introduced this month which have implications for any BC business with 20 or more employees. That’s because businesses with 20 or more employees must have a Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (JOSHC). The changes improve the effectiveness of these committees and increase the involvement of employees in workplace safety.

Annual evaluations required

The first change is that employers must now evaluate their joint committees annually to determine their effectiveness. These evaluations can be done in-house or by another organization. In all cases, the joint committee must provide input to the evaluation and participate in the review and discussion of the evaluation report.

Mandatory minimum training requirements now in place

Second, there are now mandatory minimum training requirements for all new committee members. New members must receive at least eight hours of training within six months of becoming a member while new health and safety representatives (required for companies with between nine and 19 employees) must receive four hours of training.

Incident investigation participation clarified

Third, how employers and workers should participate in incident investigations has been clarified. In addition to reviewing the incident scene and providing advice to those carrying out an investigation, individuals are also now required to gather and analyze information related to the investigation and identify actions that should be taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Where to find more information

The joint health and safety committees’ page on worksafebc.com contains all the information you need to learn about and comply with these changes. On it, you’ll find links to:

New resources will be available on worksafebc.com later in April, including:

  • A joint health and safety committee evaluation tool and accompanying guide
  • An online course for worker health and safety representatives (4 hours)
  • A joint committee training course with an online component (2 hours), and a classroom component that could be conducted in-person, or remotely by webinar (6 hours)
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Recent changes strengthen Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees