Joint Health and Safety Committees (JHSCs) are a legal requirement and key component of the Internal Responsibility System (IRS). The IRS concludes that all workplace parties have a role to play in ensuring that health and safety requirements are met in the workplace, promoting health and safety in the workplace and help the workplace be in compliance with the law.
JHSCs are bipartite committees composed of both worker and employer representatives. They act as an advisory body that help to raise awareness of health and safety issues in the workplace, recognize and identify workplace risks and develop recommendations for the employer to address these risks.
Section 9 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act outlines the legal requirements and specific functions of JHSCs. The 2006 SARS Commission Report found that neither IRSs now JHSCs were fulfilling their intended roles and responsibilities and that JHSCs, a fundamental component of workplace safety, were often sidelined and not utilized during public health crises such as SARS.
As a result, CREOD has led a series of studies investigating the effectiveness of JHSCs in a variety of sectors.