Promoting Engagement and Participation in a JHSC

Categories: Joint Health and Safety Committees, OHS TrainingPublished On: November 29, 2023
Jhsc Members In Ontario, Canada Holding Hands One Top Of Another For Promoting Engagement And Participation

Strategies for Engaging JHSC Members

In our consulting practice, we sometimes hear the lament that employers have a difficult time attracting and retaining JHSC members. Oftentimes, the culprit is that the committee members are not engaged. There are several strategies to engage committee members. It is imperative to foster a collaborative relationship with management to ensure that JHSC recommendations are taken seriously and acted upon.

One very important point is the effectiveness of committee meetings. Effective meetings are absolutely critical for the efficient operation and committee engagement of a JHSC. It is here that views are shared and proposals developed. Oftentimes, meetings are long and drawn out. One solution is to form subcommittees for specific safety projects or tasks. Involve members who are passionate about particular safety aspects to drive progress effectively. The subcommittee gives regular updates on the project at each meeting.

Ensure that all committee members have a clear understanding of their roles, responsibilities, and the purpose of the JHSC. Encourage and value active participation from all members during meetings and safety activities. Avoid dominating discussions and encourage input from quieter members. An effective co-chair will be sure to include members who may be new or shy to provide input.

Offer ongoing training and professional development opportunities to enhance members’ safety knowledge and skills. There are excellent conferences and professional development opportunities available to members. This demonstrates the organization’s commitment to their growth.

Acknowledge and recognize the efforts and contributions of JHSC members. Publicly appreciate their achievements and efforts to promote safety. Celebrate the achievements of the JHSC and recognize milestones in reaching safety goals. Publicly highlight their impact on improving safety.

Establish realistic and achievable goals for the JHSC. Involve members in the goal-setting process to foster ownership and commitment. Involve JHSC members in decision-making processes related to safety initiatives, hazard control measures, and incident investigations. An involved member feels valued.

Ensure that JHSC members have access to relevant safety resources, data, incident reports, and other materials to inform their decisions and discussions. Foster open communication among committee members and between the JHSC and the wider workforce. Encourage regular safety communications to keep employees informed about safety initiatives and updates. The committee members are a valuable communication conduit to and from the front lines of the workforce.

Consider rotating roles and responsibilities within the JHSC periodically to provide members with diverse experiences and prevent burnout. Seek regular feedback from JHSC members about their experiences and suggestions for improvement. Conduct surveys to gauge satisfaction and identify areas for enhancement.

Be open to new ideas and approaches to improve safety. Create an environment where innovation and creativity are encouraged. “This is the way we have always done it at ABC Company” may not be the mantra a new committee member wants to hear.

Creating a Positive Safety Culture

Creating a positive safety culture is a collaborative effort that involves the entire organization, with the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) playing a central role in fostering and promoting this culture.

The JHSC members should serve as safety role models by consistently adhering to safety procedures and demonstrating a strong commitment to workplace safety. This is a consideration to include in JHSC Terms of Reference.

Encourage open and transparent communication about safety issues. Provide employees with avenues to report safety concerns, near-misses, and potential hazards without fear of reprisals.

Work collaboratively with management to develop and implement safety initiatives. Engage in open dialogue and ensure safety considerations are integrated into all aspects of the organization’s operations. Involve employees in safety decision-making processes. Seek their input, listen to their suggestions, and empower them to take an active role in shaping safety policies and procedures.

Advocate for comprehensive safety training and education programs. Ensure that employees receive regular training on safety best practices, hazard identification, and emergency response. This has to happen upon hire and at regular intervals so the information remains fresh and relevant.

Encourage initiatives that support employee well-being, including mental health programs, ergonomic assessments, and initiatives that promote a healthy work-life balance. Safety at home is as important as safety at work. Consider home-safety initiatives at key times of the year, such as holidays, when many workers are using ladders to display holiday lights.

Acknowledge and celebrate employees who prioritize safety and follow best practices. Often, employees suggest a solution which solves a safety issue at work. Recognize safety achievements and contributions to reinforce the importance of safety at your workplace. Recognize safety milestones, such as fully implementing a new program, to celebrate the collective commitment to safety.

Encourage a learning-oriented approach to incidents. Conduct thorough incident investigations to understand underlying and contributing causes and share lessons learned to prevent similar incidents in the future. Move away from a “blame the worker” culture and emphasize the process and system issues that led to the incident.

Encourage a culture of continuous improvement in safety practices. Regularly review and update safety policies and procedures based on changing needs and best practices.

By implementing these strategies, the JHSC can contribute significantly to creating a positive safety culture that permeates the organization. A positive safety culture not only reduces incidents and injuries but also enhances employee morale, productivity, and overall organizational success.

Motivating Committee Members for Active Participation

Motivating Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) members for active participation is indeed crucial, as their dedication and engagement play a significant role in fostering a positive safety culture and improving workplace safety. Ensure that senior management and supervisors actively support and value the contributions of the JHSC. Visible support from leadership encourages engagement and commitment.

Actively listen to the concerns and challenges raised by JHSC members. Addressing these issues shows that their voices are valued and can lead to greater engagement.

Involve JHSC members in decision-making processes related to safety initiatives. Empower them to take ownership of safety projects, conduct inspections, and propose improvements. Ensure that JHSC members have the necessary resources, tools, and support to carry out their roles effectively. This may include access to training, safety data, incident investigation resources, and safety equipment.

Offer opportunities for professional development, such as safety training, workshops, and certifications. Investing in their skills and knowledge will not only benefit the committee but also enhance their personal growth.

Keep communication channels open and provide regular updates on safety-related matters. Encourage feedback from JHSC members and address any concerns or suggestions promptly. Share success stories and best practices from other organizations or industries. Demonstrating the positive impact of safety initiatives can inspire and motivate committee members.

Regularly recognize and appreciate the efforts of JHSC members. Express gratitude for their commitment to workplace safety during team meetings, through appreciation emails, or by acknowledging their contributions publicly.

Consider implementing a recognition program that acknowledges exceptional safety contributions. Demonstrate how the work of the JHSC aligns with the organization’s overall goals and values. Emphasize how safety efforts contribute to the success and well-being of the entire workforce. Recognition could include awards, certificates, or other forms of gratitude. Focus on program initiatives and safety program implementation. Stay away from rewarding employees for the lack of reportable injuries; this can lead to non-reporting.

Encourage a culture of continuous improvement within the JHSC itself. Regularly review the committee’s processes and identify opportunities for enhancing efficiency and effectiveness.

By implementing these strategies, organizations can foster a motivated and engaged JHSC that is dedicated to improving workplace safety and health. A supportive and appreciative environment encourages JHSC members to take an active role and contribute to a safer and healthier workplace for all employees.

About the Author

Louise Caicco Tett, Mph, Crsp, Rn - President – Occupational Health And Safety Consultant

Louise Caicco Tett
OHS Consultant

Louise is a Registered Nurse with a degree from Western University. She has a certificate in Occupational Health and Safety and holds her Canadian Registered Safety Professional Designation. Louise also has her Master’s in Public Health (Occupational Health and Safety Management) from Tulane University’s Department of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Louise’s special interests include management systems, leading indicators, safety leadership, mental health, incident investigation, and any emerging health and safety topic.

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