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Joint Health and Safety Committees and Health and Safety Representatives

  • Issued: November 23, 2016
  • Content last reviewed: November 2016

Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help the workplace parties understand some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and regulations. It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations. For further information please see full disclaimer.

What is the role of the Joint Health and Safety Committee or the Health and Safety Representative?

The Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) or the Health and Safety Representative (HSR) must be provided with the following:

  1. The report of the pre-start health and safety review (PSR) before the apparatus, structure, protective element is operated or used, or before the process is used [subsection 7(14)].
  2. Upon request, documents establishing an exemption to the requirement to conduct a PSR [subsection 7(15)].
  3. If some or all of the measures required by the PSR are not taken, written notice of the measures that will be taken to comply with the applicable provision(s) of the Industrial Establishments Regulation [clause 7(3)(b)].

Subject to subsection 7(3), the apparatus, structure, or protective element may be operated or the process used once the PSR report, if required, is provided to the JHSC or HSR.

What is the purpose of giving the PSR to the JHSC or HSR?

As part of the internal responsibility system, health and safety issues can and should be discussed with the JHSC or HSR, and recommendations regarding how an employer can improve workplace health and safety should also be made to the JHSC or HSR, if any.

Providing the PSR report to the JHSC or HSR reinforces the employer’s duty to inform his or her workers about workplace hazards, and reinforces the powers of the JHSC or HSR to be made aware of health and safety tests and reports that may affect workers.

Can the JHSC/HSR request additional machine guarding after an engineer who has completed the PSR feels that it is adequately guarded?

Consistent with their powers under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), the JHSC or HSR representative can make recommendations to the employer on matters of health and safety. This could include machine guarding. The employer must respond in writing within 21 days of receiving the recommendations. The Ministry of Labour may also be notified by the JHSC or individual members, should they feel that there is an existing safety problem.

Does a PSR circumvent the need for JHSC or HSR audits?

No. The PSR is a requirement under section 7 of the Industrial Establishments Regulation that applies only to factories, except logging operations.

The requirement for inspections by the JHSC or HSR is under the OHSA and applies to any workplace required by the Act to have a JHSC or a HSR.

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Disclaimer: This web resource has been prepared to assist the workplace parties in understanding some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the regulations. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations and reference should always be made to the official version of the legislation.

It is the responsibility of the workplace parties to ensure compliance with the legislation. This web resource does not constitute legal advice. If you require assistance with respect to the interpretation of the legislation and its potential application in specific circumstances, please contact your legal counsel.

While this web resource will also be available to Ministry of Labour inspectors, they will apply and enforce the OHSA and its regulations based on the facts as they may find them in the workplace. This web resource does not affect their enforcement discretion in any way.