About the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC)

The Occupational Health Act legislates EORLA to have a Joint Health and Safety Committee, because EORLA has more than 20 workers. EORLA divides its workforce into geographical zones. The JHSC for EORLA consists of at least one certified worker for each zone. Our JHSC has 12 certified worker representatives. The JHSC's responsibility is to audit the Internal Responsibility System (IRS) within the workplace.

The Internal Responsibility System (IRS) puts in place an employee-employer partnership in ensuring a safe and disease-free workplace. The JHSC is a shared forum for employees and employers working together to improve workplace health and safety.

Step one of the IRS is to report any safety concern to your supervisor. Step two, the supervisor corrects the safety concern. Step three, the JHSC gets a report of incident and corrective actions

The duties of the JHSC include tracking and investigating accident and incidents in the workplace. They are required to inspect each lab every year. Given EORLA's geographical challenges it takes a full year to inspect every site and lab. The certified workers will walk though the lab assigned to them by the Chair of the committee and speak to members working that day to hear your safety concerns and complete their inspection checklist. They will also look back at previous inspections and ensure any previous concerns were addressed. If you see an inspection taking place this is a good time to bring your concerns to the certified rep.

Once an inspection is complete at a site or lab a copy is given to the manager and if there are any safety concerns indicated on the inspection they have 21 days to correct the safety concern. After 21 days the certified worker inspector will follow up with the manager, to ensure the corrective actions have been taken.
In the event the corrective actions have not been taken the worker chair sends a memo to Senior Management for EORLA. Senior management then has 21 days to correct the issue. Failing this 21-day period the worker chair can notify Ministry of Labour. If the Ministry of Labour comes into the workplace and places orders the employer can be charged if they do not comply.

The JHSC Worker Chair is elected by the committee members for a 3-year term. The current worker chair is Harry Coenraad, he is on his second term as chair. Harry was certified through the Ministry of Labour in 2012. He is continuing his education and has complete the Workers Health and Safety Centre Ergonomics certification, Workers Health and Safety Center Level one as well as OPSEU's Health and Safety Level One.