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What does a health and safety representative or Joint Health and Safety Committee do?

Health and safety representative

If your workplace has between 6 and 19 workers, it must have a health and safety representative. This is someone who you and the other workers choose. They must be a worker, not a manager.

Their role is to deal with safety issues in the workplace. To do this, they:

  • identify safety problems
  • suggest ways your employer can fix the problems
  • inspect the workplace at least once a month

You can speak to them at any time about safety problems or concerns that you have.

Joint Health and Safety Committee

If your workplace has 20 or more workers, it must have a Joint Health and Safety Committee.

This committee must have at least 2 people. One person is chosen by the workers and one is chosen by the employer.

The person chosen by the workers is your representative on the Joint Health and Safety Committee.

At least 2 members of a Joint Health and Safety Committee must have certification training. This training teaches them about the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and their responsibilities.

Your representative is there to help make sure that your workplace is safe. Talk to your representative about your safety concerns and if you want to:

  • ask for a change in your job's safety policies
  • have more training
  • get different equipment
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Understand the role of your health and safety representative or Joint Health and Safety Committee

Both the health and safety representative and Joint Health and Safety Committee must:

  • inspect your workplace for safety issues at least once a month
  • suggest to your employer ways to improve safety
  • get information from your employer about dangerous materials and safety records
  • get information from your employer about safety tests for equipment and materials in the workplace
  • help your employer investigate accidents and injuries
  • answer your safety questions or complaints

Your health and safety representative or your representative from the Joint Health and Safety Committee can:

  • give you information about health and safety issues in your workplace
  • listen to your ideas for changes in the workplace and pass them on to your employer
  • help you deal with safety issues or help you to work with an inspector from the Ministry of Labour

Choose a worker to represent you on safety issues.

At least half of the members on your Joint Health and Safety Committee must represent the workers. This means that they're not managers.

Even if a person is not a manager, they cannot be a worker representative if they do any of these jobs:

  • decide whether to discipline workers
  • hire new employees
  • hire people
  • decide whether to promote an employee
  • tell people what to do
  • decide how other workers should do their work

Workers, not managers, choose your health and safety representative or your member on a Joint Health and Safety Committee.

You could pick this person by talking about it at a meeting or by having a vote.

Your employer will decide who they want to represent them on the Joint Health and Safety Committee. The person they choose should be someone who works at your actual workplace.

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Talk to your representative

If you have specific questions about safety issues in your workplace, you can talk to your health and safety representative or a member of your Joint Health and Safety Committee.

If you want to make a complaint, you should make some notes before you meet with them.

Your notes should include details about the problem and list any documents that have information about the problem.

In your notes, try to include answers to the following questions:

  • What happened?
  • When did you notice the problem?
  • What equipment is involved?
  • Who is involved?
  • Have you taken any steps to fix the problem?
  • If you asked your employer about it, what did they say?
  • Why do you think the problem is a danger?
  • What might happen if the problem isn't fixed?
Reviewed: 
October, 2015

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