Establishing a Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee

Farms with 20 or more employees are required to establish a Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee. The employer is responsible for establishing and maintaining the committee with employee input, where required.

Function of a Committee – to act as an advisory body and work together to improve health and safety in the workplace. The requirements for the Committee are similar to that of a health and safety representative, and include:

  • Identifying hazards & recommending corrective actions.
  • Assisting in resolving work refusals.
  • Participating in accident/incident investigations and workplace inspections.
  • Discussing health and safety concerns and potential recommendations for improvement.
  • Ensuring health and safety requirements are complied with.
  • Keeping records and minutes of committee meetings.

Committee Requirements

  • Employer and employees agree on the number of committee members.
  • A minimum of 50 per cent of the members must represent the employees and not be connected to management.
  • Committee must be co-chaired by management and non-management representatives.
  • Committee must meet once a month, or as decided by members.
  • Employees must be paid for their work with the committee.
  • The committee must create its own rules of procedure.

The Farm Safety Workbook provides examples and templates to assist you in establishing a Committee and Rules of Procedure.

TIP

Use the same approach to select committee members as outlined for the representative on the previous page.

TIP

It’s important to keep all committee meetings meaningful and engaging. Provide new information at each session, and find
opportunities to invite in guest speakers who can share industry-specific information. Employees may benefit from having meeting safety agendas combined with production information. As an example, perhaps someone can come in to talk about the new varieties being considered for the following growing season. The key is to keep the committee engaged and ensure meetings are time well spent.

Employer Requirements

When an employer gets a recommendation in writing from the health and safety representative or the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee, the employer must respond within 21 days. In the response, the employer may either accept the recommendations or give reasons for disagreeing with the recommendation.

If it is not reasonably possible for the employer to give an adequate response within 21 days, they must give a reasonable explanation for the delay within the deadline. In this explanation, they must identify when a response will be provided, then deliver the response as soon as it is available.