Last month, WorkSafeBC announced new regulations for joint occupational health and safety committees to come into effect April 3, 2017.
Currently, any workplace employing 20 or more regular workers is required to have a joint occupational health and safety committee (JOHSC). Those with 10 to 19 workers must have a worker representative.
The new regulations will require workplaces to conduct an annual evaluation on their JOHSCs. Evaluations must be done by either the committee co-chairs or an individual hired by the employer and must include a written report on compliance issues such as:
- whether committee members were selected according to relevant sections of the Workers' Compensation Act
- whether the committee has met as frequently as required
- whether the employer responded to recommendations by the committee
- whether members received their entitled time off for training
- whether members completed the required training
WorkSafeBC will be releasing an online tool that can be used to complete the evaluation.
In addition, the new regulations specifies the training that committee members must receive. Employers must also allow 8 hours of educational leave each year for OHS training.
Members selected on or after April 3, 2017 will be required to undergo at least 8 hours of training within 6 months. Worker representatives must under go 4 hours. The exception is if the committee member or worker representative already completed the required training and served on a JOHSC or as a worker representative anytime in the last two years.
Another change to come will expand on a section of the Workers' Compensation Act, with new requirements for participation in incident investigations by employers and worker representatives. WorkSafeBC will be releasing a guide to further clarify what is expected.