Guide to McMaster University Joint Health and Safety Committees
McMaster University, as an employer, is responsible under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of Ontario for establishing and maintaining joint health and safety committees (JHSCs) in university workplaces. These committees are made up of representatives of workers and management and meet regularly to discuss health and safety concerns, perform workplace inspections, and make recommendations for the purpose of improving workplace health and safety.
Senior Management is responsible for ensuring that properly functioning joint health and safety committees have been established to represent the employees and workplaces under their jurisdiction, and that such committees are provided with adequate support and assistance to carry out their functions.
Two of the members of a committee shall co-chair the committee, one of whom shall be selected by the members who represent workers and the other of whom shall be selected by the members who exercise managerial functions. An employer shall ensure that at least one member of the committee representing the employer and one member representing workers have completed JHSC Certification Training.
A committee shall meet at least once every 90 days at the workplace.
The JHSC structure at McMaster begins with the Central Joint Health and Safety Committee. This top-level committee has representatives from every bargaining unit, as well as many members from Senior Management. Due to the large size and diversity of operations at the University, a system of local health and safety committees is also in place.
The Central JHSC was established to support the Internal Responsibility System (IRS), provide a mechanism for joint resolution of occupational health and safety issues in the workplace and to provide oversight and support for the activities of McMaster University’s local Joint Health and Safety Committees.
University Health and Safety (UHS), and Faculty of Health Sciences Safety Office (FHSSO) serve as a resource to the University in meeting their obligations for a healthy, physically, and psychologically safe working and learning environments. Representatives from UHS and FHSSO act as advisors on the JHSCs and works with managers and workers to provide advice, support, and training.
Information, checklists, and tools are provided below to assist JHSC members with their various responsibilities.
These individuals also conduct regular inspections of all McMaster work areas to help better identify any safety-related issues that need to be addressed. JHSCs also make recommendations to Senior Management regarding the identification and control of hazards. These recommendations may include building improvements, procedure implementation, training requirements, policies and programs.