Work Place Health and Safety Committees
Marginal note:Establishment mandatory
135. (1) For the purposes of addressing health and safety matters that apply to individual work places, and subject to this section, every employer shall, for each work place controlled by the employer at which twenty or more employees are normally employed, establish a work place health and safety committee and, subject to section 135.1, select and appoint its members.
(2) An employer is not required to establish a committee under subsection (1) for a work place that is on board a ship in respect of employees whose base is the ship.
Marginal note:Exemption by Minister
(3) On receipt of a request from an employer that is submitted in the form and manner prescribed, if any is prescribed, and if the Minister is satisfied after considering the factors set out in subsection (4) that the nature of work being done by employees at the work place is relatively free from risks to health and safety, the Minister may, by order, on any terms and conditions that are specified in the order, exempt the employer from the requirement to establish a work place committee.
Marginal note:Factors to be considered
(4) The following factors are to be considered for the purposes of subsection (3):
(a) the risk of occupational injury or illness from hazardous substances or other conditions known to be associated with the type of activity conducted in that type of work place;
(b) whether the nature of the operation of, and the processes and equipment used in, the work place are relatively free from hazards to health and safety in comparison with similar operations, processes and equipment;
(c) the physical and organizational structure of the work place, including the number of employees and the different types of work being performed; and
(d) during the current calendar year and the two calendar years immediately before it,
(i) the number of disabling injuries in relation to the number of hours worked in the work place,
(ii) the occurrence of incidents in the work place having serious effects on health and safety, and
(iii) any directions issued in respect of contraventions of paragraph 125(1)(c), (z.10) or (z.11), and any contraventions of this Part that had serious consequences in respect of the work place.
Marginal note:Posting of request
(5) A request for an exemption must be posted in a conspicuous place or places where it is likely to come to the attention of employees, and be kept posted until the employees are informed of the Minister’s decision in respect of the request.
Marginal note:Exemption if collective agreement
(6) If, under a collective agreement or any other agreement between an employer and the employer’s employees, a committee of persons has been appointed and the committee has, in the opinion of a health and safety officer, a responsibility for matters relating to health and safety in the work place to such an extent that a work place committee established under subsection (1) for that work place would not be necessary,
(a) the health and safety officer may, by order, exempt the employer from the requirements of subsection (1) in respect of that work place;
(b) the committee of persons that has been appointed for the work place has, in addition to any rights, functions, powers, privileges and obligations under the agreement, the same rights, functions, powers, privileges and obligations as a work place committee under this Part; and
(c) the committee of persons so appointed is, for the purposes of this Part, deemed to be a work place committee established under subsection (1) and all rights and obligations of employers and employees under this Part and the provisions of this Part respecting a work place committee apply, with any modifications that the circumstances require, to the committee of persons so appointed.
Marginal note:Duties of committee
(7) A work place committee, in respect of the work place for which it is established,
(a) shall consider and expeditiously dispose of complaints relating to the health and safety of employees;
(b) shall participate in the implementation and monitoring of the program referred to in paragraph 134.1(4)(c);
(c) where the program referred to in paragraph 134.1(4)(c) does not cover certain hazards unique to the work place, shall participate in the development, implementation and monitoring of a program for the prevention of those hazards that also provides for the education of employees in health and safety matters related to those hazards;
(d) where there is no policy committee, shall participate in the development, implementation and monitoring of a program for the prevention of hazards in the work place that also provides for the education of employees in health and safety matters related to those hazards;
(e) shall participate in all of the inquiries, investigations, studies and inspections pertaining to the health and safety of employees, including any consultations that may be necessary with persons who are professionally or technically qualified to advise the committee on those matters;
(f) shall participate in the implementation and monitoring of a program for the provision of personal protective equipment, clothing, devices or materials and, where there is no policy committee, shall participate in the development of the program;
(g) shall ensure that adequate records are maintained on work accidents, injuries and health hazards relating to the health and safety of employees and regularly monitor data relating to those accidents, injuries and hazards;
(h) shall cooperate with health and safety officers;
(i) shall participate in the implementation of changes that might affect occupational health and safety, including work processes and procedures and, where there is no policy committee, shall participate in the planning of the implementation of those changes;
(j) shall assist the employer in investigating and assessing the exposure of employees to hazardous substances;
(k) shall inspect each month all or part of the work place, so that every part of the work place is inspected at least once each year; and
(l) where there is no policy committee, shall participate in the development of health and safety policies and programs.
(8) A work place committee, in respect of the work place for which it is established, may request from an employer any information that the committee considers necessary to identify existing or potential hazards with respect to materials, processes, equipment or activities.
(9) A work place committee, in respect of the work place for which it is established, shall have full access to all of the government and employer reports, studies and tests relating to the health and safety of the employees, or to the parts of those reports, studies and tests that relate to the health and safety of employees, but shall not have access to the medical records of any person except with the person’s consent.
Marginal note:Meetings of committee
(10) A work place committee shall meet during regular working hours at least nine times a year at regular intervals and, if other meetings are required as a result of an emergency or other special circumstances, the committee shall meet as required during regular working hours or outside those hours.
- R.S., 1985, c. L-2, s. 135;
- R.S., 1985, c. 9 (1st Supp.), s. 4, c. 26 (4th Supp.), s. 2;
- 1993, c. 42, s. 8(F);
- 2000, c. 20, s. 10.
- Date modified: