Is Your Joint Health and Safety Committee Doing a Good Job? 8 Steps to Help You Make Sure

Is your joint health and safety committee doing a good job? Your company has a working Joint Health and Safety Committee in place. You believe that you have done everything you need to be in compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act. But is your committee effective? Has having a committee in place changed your health and safety accident rate? When your committee meets are they effective or meeting to document that they met?

Setting Objectives

April is here and it is a brand new quarter. Why not take the time now to set some objectives for the Joint Health and Safety Committee? If your committee is always deferring items from one meeting to another, the committee itself may be ineffective. Before you can set objectives for them, an audit is important. Here are 8 steps to ensure your Joint Health and Safety Committee is doing a good job and working as best it can.

8 Steps to an Effective Committee

Step #1: Start by looking at what issues or items the committee dealt with last year. Make sure the items were relevant to your company and the committee’s mandate. While you are at it, make sure they have a mandate (such as maintaining a safe workplace or reducing the accident rate) and that all committee members know the mandate and are working to achieve it.

Step #2: Count the amount of times the committee met for the year.  Identify the areas they inspected and how often. At the same time ensure that you have enough members on the committee, that they were afforded the time to inspect the workplace/attend meetings and that they are properly trained to do the job.

Step #3: From the 2018 meeting minutes you should be easily able to identify how successful the committee was in closing off on items that came up during the year. Count the number of items the committee dealt with and get a percentage of how many items were resolved (you will look at the resolution timing rate in the next step).

Step #4: Check for items that were carried forward for more than one month and identify the reason. Next check to see how long each item was open before resolution. Count how long it took the committee to resolve an item i.e. one month, two months, etc.

Step #5: Look for items that should have been rated as a priority and were either misidentified or carried forward to the next month.

Step #6: Look for other items that were carried forward month over month (despite the efforts of the committee) that needed follow-up from others outside the committee. Identify if the efforts of the committee were blocked in any way by the company. Identify any other barrier sources.

Step #7: Use the information identified in the above steps to create solutions to any barriers or fix any performance issues the committee had. If you have additional data from past years, more important information may be available so it is worthwhile looking back as far as you can. You may be surprised that some items go back years (i.e. loose bathroom floor tiles etc.)

Step #8: Set aside some time to annually set objectives with the Joint Health and Safety Committee. Get their input to help set realistic goals. Going forward, annually use the above steps to rate performance and identify any barriers to the committee’s effectiveness. Along with the committee, create solutions to ensure that they have all the tools they need to achieve their mandate.

Other Resources

For 10 tips to keep your committee meetings on track, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) has more information. If you use the above steps along with the tips, achieving your committee’s mandate should be much easier.  Everyone in your organization will benefit and thank you for your efforts.

The National Day of Mourning is looming again on April 28th. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you made some real changes to your committee and by default your accident rate? This would mean that those who lost their lives or were injured didn’t do so in vain.