Firing up your JHSC: proven tips from a 24-year veteran (Part 2)

Dec 01, 2016

JHSC veteranIn this second of two parts, Dave Powers offers seven more no- or low-cost tips for getting the most out of your JHSC. The director, health, safety and environment for Oxford Frozen Foods has worked with many joint health and safety committees (JHSCs) over the last 24 years.

Dave first shared his suggestions as a speaker at WSPS' national Partners in Prevention conference and trade show earlier this year. A joint health and safety committee operating on all cylinders will raise interest in safety at all levels of the organization, build enthusiasm and help your workplace integrate health and safety into everything it does, he says.

The first seven tips appeared in our October issue . Here are seven more.

8. Involve individual JHSC members in incident reviews to improve their investigation skills. During meetings, review previous incident reports' corrective actions as a learning opportunity. For instance, "Coach the employee on safer work methods" is a more useful corrective action than "Told the worker to be more careful."

9. Add a brainstorming session to each meeting. Take one issue that you can't seem to close, and brainstorm it. Even if you don't come up with an answer this time, the interaction is priceless.

10. Put committee members on first aid duty. Pair a member of your JHSC with a first aider. If an employee sustains a minor injury, dispatch these two individuals… It helps the committee members conduct investigations and grow their confidence to handle bigger issues when they may come along.

11. Provide ongoing training. Committee members can only grow into their role if you give them tools and training. Spend one hour a month maximum on a different topic, separately from regular committee meetings. "This is what the law says about working from heights," "This is how to look for root causes…" Bring in a subject matter expert if necessary. If your committee is mature enough, up the ante with topics like conflict resolution and duty to accommodate.

12. Create an exchange program. Sit in on another organization's committee meeting, then bring their committee to your meeting. As a combined force you can come up with a lot of recommendations. If you can work in a plant tour, all the better. If you have multiple committees in your own organization, start with an internal exchange.

13. Go on field trips to a first responder (e.g., ambulance station) or government ministries. Bring in guest speakers. Let a machine safety expert say, "Here's what to look for when inspecting your machines." They usually have great insights. Ask senior management to talk to your safety committee once a year or so, to reinforce safety's contribution to the operation. Invite the Ministry of Labour to a meeting. It can be scary, but they are great sources of information, if only to tell the committee members, "This is what we do when we come onto your site, if there's been a complaint, or a fatality, or a critical injury, or it's just a random visit."

14. Improve the monthly safety inspection process. Ensure members have the training needed to conduct thorough inspections. Pair new members with experienced members. Schedule inspections and JHSC meetings close together so that observations remain fresh and recommendations follow promptly. If possible, let committee members schedule inspections for times convenient to them. If you have a large workplace, inspect different sections over time. Consider adding a specific focus, such as lifting device or machine safety hazards, to each inspection.

How WSPS can help

As a Ministry of Labour approved provider, WSPS has been the certification trainer of choice for over 100,000 people. We offer Certification Part One and Certification Part Two for various sectors.

We also offer two related half-day courses: investigating accidents and incidents, and inspecting your workplace.