As per WorkSafeBC guidelines, employers must involve frontline workers, joint health and safety committees, and supervisors in identifying protocols for their workplace. School districts and schools should ensure they have active Site Committees and Joint Health and Safety Committees that meet regularly,including prior to any transitions between stages, and are included in school district/school planning efforts.
(See page 22 of the updated “Provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings.”)
CUPE recommends three levels of health and safety committees, sometimes known as Joint Health and Safety Committees (JHSC) or Joint Occupational Safety and Health Committees (JOSH).
District Health and Safety Committee
The central, or district committee, oversees health and safety for large employers, employers with multiple work sites, and employers with complex or systemic issues that have wide impact such as violence in the workplace, as well as issues that require a lot of resources or require major actions to resolve.
Joint Health and Safety Committee
The second type of committee is the joint health and safety committee, which is the only type of committee recognized by WorkSafeBC. This joint committee is required under The Workers Compensation Act and should be included in a local’s collective agreement along with the other two levels of committees. This joint committee meets monthly and is required to comply with The Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, as well as the committee’s Terms of Reference.
Site Health and Safety Committee
The third type of committee, a site (or local) health and safety committee is important for large locals that have numerous job classifications, complex and varied health and safety issues, or are spread out geographically with a variety of departments or locations. Site committees know their workplace and gather information that is provided to the Joint Health and Safety Committees when action is required.
Specific information about K-12 site committees will be covered in a future bulletin.