Today more than ever employer’s must be in a position to demonstrate due diligence by having proof they have taken all reasonable precautions in the circumstances to prevent injuries or accidents in the workplace. The Internal Responsibility System inOntario is set up so employers and workers have a joint responsibility for the health and safety of the workplace. The Occupational Health and Safety Act creates an interlocking set of obligations, duties and rights that both the employer and worker must follow. A health and safety committee is a joint forum of employees and employers working together to improve health and safety
If your company has 20 or more employees, you must, by law, have a Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC). Legislation also specifies that one worker and one manager of every JHSC must be trained in the fundamentals of health and safety and both members must be trained in workplace-specific hazards. This training is known as Certification Part One and Certification Part Two. The purpose of certification training is to provide special knowledge, training and skills to all workers and employers in order to improve their health and safety system. Also, to encourage and promote the joint participation of workers and employers to act on health and safety issues.
Under the OHS Act two members must be Certified, one management representative and one worker representative. If the employer has fewer than 50 employees at least two JHSC members must be on the committee. If a company has 50 or more employees at least four JHSC members must be on the committee. Occupational Health and Safety Act – Section 9(12) states it’s the employer’s responsibility for have 2 certified members on their committee. This is the section in the Act: S. 9(12) unless otherwise prescribed, a constructor or employer shall ensure that at least one member of the committee representing the constructor or employer and at least one member representing workers are certified members. R.S.O. 1990, c. O.1, s. 9 (12).
The competent person under the Act is defined as being qualified because of knowledge, training and experience to organize the work and its performance. Many employers provide JHSC certification training to their supervisors in order to deem them competent in health and safety as per the Act and therefore the employer can demonstrate a degree of “due diligence”. The health and safety definition of due diligence places the employer in a reverse onus position meaning they must prove due diligence in order to avoid charges
In the event that a Ministry of Labour Inspector visits your workplace he or she will issue and order based on S. 9(12) if two committee members are not certified. Certification training is recommended because it’s required under the Occupational Health and Safety Act but also because it helps the employer ensure their committee members have the knowledge and training to recognize, assess and control hazards, therefore creating a safer workplace by preventing of accidents