Workplaces in Ontario with 20 or more regular employees at their work site are required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act to establish a joint health and safety committee or JHSC. The government defines a JHSC in its Guide for Health and Safety Committees and Representatives as such:
A joint health and safety committee (JHSC) is composed of worker and employer representatives. Together, they should be mutually committed to improving health and safety conditions in the workplace. Committees identify potential health and safety issues and bring them to the employer’s attention and must be kept informed of health and safety developments in the workplace by the employer. As well, a designated worker member of the committee inspects the workplace at least once a month.
A JHSC in Ontario must have at least one worker member and one supervisor member of the committee with JHSC certification. Part 1 of JHSC certification involves training on the fundamentals of health and safety in general.
What is Part 1 of JHSC Certification?
The first part of certification training consists of 19.5 hours of instruction over the course of three days. It may take place three days in a row or be spread out over several weeks. Different training providers offer different training schedules.
Part one training concerns fundamentals of health and safety that apply broadly to a variety of different kinds of workplaces. It is meant to educate the JHSC representatives on their role as members of the committee so they can carry out their duties responsibly.
Topics discussed in Part 1 include occupational health and safety law, the duties and responsibilities of management, supervisors, and workers, how to recognize health and safety hazards in the workplace, and how to assess, control, and evaluate hazards.
Members must complete Part 1 before they can move onto Part 2, which builds on that knowledge and focuses on specific hazards in the member’s own workplace. They must complete Part 2 within six months of Part 1. Certification remains valid even after members move from one workplace to the next.
Where to Get Certification Training
The Chief Prevention Officer of the Ontario Ministry of Labour sets out the criteria training providers must meet to deliver an approved JHSC certification program. To meet the requirements of the Ministry of Labour requirements and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, members must receive training from an approved provider.
Individual instructors do not need ministry approval. The providers are responsible for ensuring their instructors meet the ministry’s standards.
The Ministry provides a list of approved providers on its website.