JHSC Meeting Requirements and Best Practices in Canada

Categories: Joint Health and Safety CommitteesPublished On: November 21, 2023
Jhsc Meeting With Industrial Engineers Late Office - Jhsc Meeting Requirements And Best Practices In Canada

Understanding JHSC Meeting Requirements

The Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) is fundamental to health and safety in the workplace. The JHSC has an advisory role and is responsible for identifying and addressing health and safety concerns in the workplace. It can ensure both the well-being of employees and the integrity of operations, as it comprises worker and employer representatives. Central to the functioning of the JHSC are its meetings, where critical discussions and actions take place to uphold legislative safety standards and compliance. In this article, we will discuss the importance of JHSC in meeting requirements, content, roles, and legal significance.

Defining the Joint Health and Safety Committee

The JHSC embodies the collaborative effort between employers and workers to maintain a safe and healthy work environment. This committee is essential to workplace safety management systems across various industries. The Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA) mandates the establishment of JHSCs in certain workplaces in Ontario, making it a legal obligation rather than just a matter of choice. The primary role of the JHSC is multifaceted, encompassing several key responsibilities:

Risk Assessment and Mitigation:

The role of JHSC members is to identify workplace hazards and help develop strategies to mitigate risks, thereby enhancing overall safety. This cooperative spirit ensures that your company and its workforce can prevent and reduce health and safety hazards.

Policy Development:

Another function is to create and implement health and safety policies. An employer may delegate the main Health and Safety Policy; however, the written policy statement is a pledge to employees, so the employer is ultimately responsible for its content. Other workplace-specific policies should be written in consultation with the health and safety committee or representative, workers or their representatives, and the involvement of management.

Training and Education:

JHSC members can recommend training to equip employees with skills to safely navigate hazards. By promoting education initiatives, the committee empowers individuals to take proactive measures toward safety. While the OHSA only requires two members (one worker and one management member) of your JHSC to be trained to the certified level required by the Chief Prevention Officer, we suggest that you train as many of your JHSC members as you can.

Incident Investigations:

When a workplace incident occurs, the JHSC conducts thorough investigations to identify root causes and prevent recurrence. Looking at both unsafe conditions and unsafe acts is necessary to examine all underlying factors in a chain of events that ends in an incident. HSPI has a course on Incident Investigation, should you require more information.

Regulatory Requirements and Mandates

The Act requires regular meetings, attendance, and thorough reporting for JHSCs. According to the Act, JHSCs must convene at least once every three months, ensuring consistent engagement with workplace safety issues. Attendance at these meetings is mandatory for management and worker representatives, underscoring the collaborative nature of safety governance. Moreover, the Act mandates comprehensive reporting mechanisms, necessitating the documentation of meeting minutes, hazard assessments, and corrective actions. To prepare for successful meetings, JHSC members must engage in proactive planning, including agenda setting, reviewing previous minutes, and gathering relevant data.

Setting Meeting Goals and Agendas

Each member of the JHSC should be assigned specific roles and responsibilities, ranging from hazard identification to policy formulation and incident investigation. Before the meeting, members should review previous meeting minutes, compile relevant data, and identify priority topics for discussion. The meeting should have a series of goals the committee wishes to accomplish. Some examples of JHSC meeting goals include:

  • Identify and assess workplace hazards;
  • Review incident reports and safety policies and procedures;
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of existing safety measures;
  • Address employee concerns and;
  • Plan safety initiatives.

Facilitating Productive Discussions

Inclusivity and active participation are vital to the success of JHSC meetings. By creating an environment where every member feels valued and heard, facilitators can leverage the diverse expertise and perspectives within the committee to tackle complex safety challenges. Handling conflicts and disagreements promptly is crucial for productive conversations and decision-making. Individuals should utilize active listening, empathy, and mediation to manage tensions and promote teamwork toward common objectives. The Act encourages reaching a consensus. Creating consensus in a team setting means finding a proposal acceptable enough that all team members can support it, with no member opposing it.

Risk Assessment and Hazard Identification

After an incident, when the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) convenes, it is important to conduct a comprehensive review of the incident. Below is a guide that outlines the step-by-step process for reviewing incidents during an investigation:

Information Gathering: All necessary information, including incident reports, witness statements, photographs, and other documentation, should be collected before the meeting.

Explaining Incident Details: Present a detailed overview of the incident, including the date, time, location, individuals involved, and a description of what occurred. Ensure that all members understand the context of the incident.

Incident Analysis: Facilitate a discussion to identify the root and contributing factors that led to the incident. Encourage members to explore underlying issues such as unsafe work practices, equipment failures, lack of training, or deficiencies in safety protocols.

Conduct a Hazard Assessment: Evaluate the hazards associated with the incident and assess their potential risks to employee safety. Consider both immediate hazards that contributed to the incident and underlying hazards that can pose ongoing risks.

Procedure Compliance Review: Determine whether existing safety procedures, policies, and regulations were followed before the incident. Identify any gaps or deficiencies in compliance and discuss potential improvements.

Brainstorm Preventative Measures: Engage members in a brainstorming session to generate ideas for preventive measures and corrective actions.

Prioritize Actions: Prioritize measures based on their potential effectiveness, feasibility, and urgency. Develop a timeline and assign responsibilities for implementing each action item.

Minute Taking and Documentation

Minutes of JHSC meetings must include meeting dates, attendees, agenda items, discussions, decisions, and assigned responsibilities. Detailed notes on incident reviews, hazard assessments, policy updates, and training initiatives provide a comprehensive overview of the committee’s activities and progress toward safety goals. By maintaining strict documentation standards, JHSCs meet regulatory obligations and establish a reliable framework for tracking safety initiatives.

Evaluating Meeting Effectiveness

JHSC meeting effectiveness involves examining if the objectives were met, discussions were productive, and decisions were action-oriented. One crucial aspect of evaluating meeting effectiveness is gathering participant feedback. Soliciting feedback allows insights into areas of strength and areas needing improvement, such as meeting structure, facilitation techniques, agenda relevance, and overall engagement levels. Feedback can be collected through surveys, verbal discussions, or anonymous comment boxes. By analyzing feedback and incorporating suggestions for improvement, JHSCs can continually enhance meeting effectiveness, foster greater collaboration, and drive meaningful progress toward achieving workplace safety goals.


JHSC meetings serve as invaluable forums for promoting workplace safety. Through diligent review of incidents, proactive hazard assessments, and collaborative decision-making, JHSCs play a pivotal role in identifying risks, implementing preventive measures, and fostering a culture of safety within organizations. By adhering to regulatory requirements, employing effective facilitation techniques, and following strict documentation standards, JHSCs can maximize their impact on safety outcomes and contribute to the well-being of employees. Ultimately, the commitment and dedication of JHSC members towards promoting safety excellence pave the way for a brighter, safer future for all.