Practice Incentive 2

Health and safety committee and/or representative/designate
To determine if you are federally or provincially regulated, please see the site section titled Employer Category. You will also find a chart here to help you determine if you need a committee, a representative or a designate. This section describes the requirements for provincially-regulated employers.

For every workplace with 10 or more workers (including non-managers and managers), you must establish an occupational health and safety committee to monitor the health, safety and welfare of the workers on that site (Section 37 of the OH&S Act). If a workplace has fewer than 10 workers, a worker health and safety (WH&S) representative/designate is required.

OH&S committee
An OH&S committee is an advisory group made up of employer and worker representatives. Their primary role is to improve health and safety by:
  • Recognizing hazards and recommending corrective action
  • Responding to worker concerns
  • Monitoring the OH&S program
  • Acting as a resource to the employer in matters concerning health and safety in the workplace
Committees should consist of at least two but not more than 12 members. At least half must represent workers and be elected by fellow workers or appointed in keeping with union constitution. Employer representatives are appointed by the employer. Each committee must have two co-chairs: one representing workers and one representing the employer.

The employer must inform all workers of the roles and responsibilities of the committee, hold a meeting to select committee co-chairs and respond to the committee’s recommendations within 30 days. Committees should have a Terms of Reference outlining its structure, function and responsibilities.

Meetings: agenda and minutes
Committees should use agendas for their meetings and keep meeting minutes, which must be communicated as follows:
  • Posted in a prominent area of the workplace
  • A copy forwarded to WorkplaceNL as soon as possible after the meeting is held. 
  • A copy placed in the committee’s files or on the company’s website
A Minutes Report Form is available here.

In each workplace where there are 10-49 workers, the employer must provide and pay for certification training for the co-chairs of the OH&S committee. In workplaces with 50 or more workers, the employer must provide and pay for certification training for all OH&S committee members. A list of certified trainers is available here.

WH&S representative/designate
Workplaces that have less than 10 workers must have a worker (workplace) health and safety representative/designate (instead of a committee). Workplaces where there are six to nine workers must have one of the non-management workers (not the owner or supervisor) acting as the WH&S representative who must be elected by other workers or appointed in accordance with union constitution. Workplaces where there are fewer than six person(s), and where a WH&S representative may be impractical, may appoint a WH&S designate. This person may be the worker (manager or non-manager), owner, operator or partner. Both representatives and designates must complete health and safety training, paid for by the employer. Check here for training information.

Functions of health and safety committees and representatives
  • Monitor the OH&S program at the workplace (where required)
  • Receive and respond to workers’ OH&S concerns
  • Identify safety concerns and recommend corrective actions
  • Promote health and safety to workers, including training
  • Take part in workplace inspections
  • Take part in investigating accidents/incidents
  • Promote OH&S programs and policies
  • Monitor the effectiveness of corrective actions
  • Meet at least once every three months during work time (committees)

Practice Incentive criteria #2 is a requirement for all employers.

Your checklist for this criteria (provincially-regulated employers):
If you can answer “yes” to the following questions and can present evidence to support your responses in an audit, you have met Practice Incentive criteria #2.
  • Do you have an OH&S committee or a WH&S representative/ designate for each of your workplaces?
  • Are these people trained in occupational health and safety (appropriate to provincial requirements)?
  • Are they submitting the appropriate reports to WorkplaceNL?