Ergonomics in the Office: Health, safety, and design professionals

Joint Health and Safety Committee
Every business in Ontario with 20 or more workers is required to have a Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC). Members of this committee must be trained in common workplace hazards found in their particular place of work. (Other provinces may have similar requirements.)

In order to ensure the training standards maintain a high level of quality and consistency, the province’s Ministry of Labour will be implementing a new training standard on March 1. JHSC Part One ensures committee members understand their rights and responsibilities and know how to read legislation. JHSC Part Two training ensures members are trained in hazards specific to their work environment. Participants will:

  • understand relevant legislation;
  • understand legal rights and responsibilities;
  • learn about common workplace hazards; and
  • learn key steps to addressing these hazards.

On construction sites, it is mandatory to have an onsite health and safety representative chosen among the workers where the employees regularly exceed five. That representative will require training.

For more information on PSHSA’s JHSC training program and the new JHSC standard, visit this website.

Importance of health and safety
The reality of a workplace injury or fatality is so much more than just the direct cost. The underlying and emotional costs are significant in many ways. According to the WSIB, the average compensation cost of a claim for 2010 is estimated at more than $20,000. The associated costs for a workplace injury could total three to 10 times that amount, including:

  • lost productivity and revenue;
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) surcharges;
  • Ministry of Labour fines; and
  • administrative costs to manage the accident investigation, injury recovery, claims management, return to work, etc.

In today’s organizations, strong leaders realize the importance of promoting a culture of health and safety, along with integrating prevention measures into business strategies, processes, and performance measures. The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA) and regulations set out clear requirements for creating a safe and healthy work environment. Leaders need to go beyond meeting their legal obligations, and seek instead to meet the spirit of the law—knowing that organizational performance depends on a healthy and safe work environment and engaged employees.

Monica_Szabo[1]Monica Szabo has more than 25 years of experience in health and safety, and has developed results-oriented solutions for the public sector. Szabo is a Registered Occupational Hygienist (ROH), Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP), and a Certified Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST). She can be reached at mszabo@pshsa.ca.

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