The Centre for Research Expertise in Occupational Disease (CREOD) recently completed a study of an assessment tool to increase joint health and safety committee (JHSC) effectiveness.
In an open plenary hosted by the Institute for Work and Health (IWH), lead researcher and CREOD director, Linn Holness shared the research behind the 21-item assessment tool. She also discussed how this study, Improving the effectiveness of joint health and safety committees
, conducted in a healthcare setting could have application in other Canadian workplaces.
Joint Health and Safety Committees (JHSCs) are a legal requirement for most Ontario workplaces with more than 20 employees. Concern regarding the function and effectiveness of JHSCs in hospitals was raised following the SARS outbreak in 2003. A subsequent literature review revealed a lack of studies on JHSCs in the healthcare sector.
Recent Ontario-based studies have begun to fill this gap helping to identify key factors that facilitate JHSC effectiveness.
Based on this information Holness and her team created a new tool that can be used by JHSC members, employers and policy makers to evaluate JHSCs and better protect workers.
The new JHSC Assessment Tool is designed to do the following:
Provide feedback on current JHSC processes and outcomes;
Enhance communication and consensus within the committee;
Lead to the development of an action plan to reach the desired state;
Promote discussion and reflection on the objectives and activities of a “gold standard” JHSC.
Holness and her team conducted the pilot study enlisting the help of 42 JHSC members from five hospitals. Participants met and discussed the 21 items on the assessment tool, before, during and after a regular joint committee meeting. They completed the assessment in less than one hour and were able to come to consensus on 95 per cent of the items.
All committee members in the study were able to agree their top three priorities for improvement were most commonly focused on: education, communication and developing a strategy.
In conclusion, the findings revealed the tool was feasible to use during a regular JHSC meeting and it was a valuable instrument for assessing and improving JHSC functioning.
Although this study was focused on the healthcare sector, Holness also concluded that the tool will have broad application across all workplace sectors.
The tool is now available electronically on the CREOD website with links to other resources and the ability to generate a JHSC-specific action plan.
Want to read Linn Holness’ presentation at IWH?
Want to know more about the Joint Health and Safety Committees in Hospitals: a journey to improve effectiveness study?
Want to know more about a guide published by LOARC in 2014 intended to help improve worker health and safety representation?
The Workers Health & Safety Centre has comprehensive resources and training to make Joint Health and Safety Committees effective and successful.
To learn more:
and ask to speak to a training services representative.