Service-Wide Committee on Occupational Health And Safety


The following is an outline of the best elements in OH&S committee training, endorsed by the National Joint Council (NJC) Service-Wide Occupational Health and Safety (SWOHS) Committee.

The SWOHS Committee has a mandate to participate in the development and review of all Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat policies, programs and issues relating to occupational health and safety. The Committee also provides advice and leadership to the departmental or agency policy committees. The Committee is made up of bargaining agent and employer representatives.

In April 2007, the SWOHS Committee embarked on a project to conduct an environmental scan of introductory occupational health and safety (OH&S) training provided to employees and participants in the health and safety (H&S) programme in all departments and agencies.

The two primary objectives for the project were:

In January 2008 the project coordinator, Naki Theocharides, submitted his report to the SWOSH Committee and in March 2008 the NJC Executive Committee considered and accepted the report, endorsed by the SWOHS Committee.

In his report, the project coordinator identified several common elements that should be covered in training for OHS committee members.

Note that the following outline is based on a survey of best practices and is provided for the Department's consideration when developing their own Department specific training and represents only the core generic elements. The Department should consider adding elements which address any conditions or hazards that are unique to the Department's operations.

For additional information, please contact Karine Beauchamp at (613) 990-1725 or or visit the NJC website at


Legal Requirements and the Role of Workplace Committees and Health and Safety Representatives

  1. Organizational Context
    • Public Service Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Programme
    • Departmental Partners
    • Responsibilities in Developing Solutions
    • Employee Rights
    • Duties of Employers
    • Duties of Employees
    • Liability
  2. Legal Requirements
    • Establishment of the Committee and Nomination of Representatives
    • Committee's Composition
  3. Committee Operations Protocol
    • Terms of Reference
    • Minutes
    • Education and Training
    • Duties and Responsibilities
    • Reporting Procedures
  4. Due Care and Diligence
    • The Committee and Due Diligence
    • What is meant by Due Diligence?
    • Why does Due Diligence have Special Significance?
    • How does an Employer establish a Due Diligence Program?

Effective Committee Members and Representatives

  1. Understanding the Organizational Context
    • Scope
    • Organizational Factors to Consider
    • Reporting Procedures
    • Committee Pitfalls
  2. Appreciating Other Views
    • Individual Vs Groups
    • Employee Vs Management
    • Impact of Recommendations
  3. Reaching a Consensus
    • Problem Solving Approach
    • Active Interpersonal Communication during the Meeting
    • Managing Conflict

Internal Complaint Resolution, Refusal to Work, Pregnant and Nursing Mother Provisions

  1. Internal Complain Resolution Process (ICRP)
    • General
    • How the Process Works
  2. Refusal to Work
    • Definitions
    • The Right to Refuse Dangerous Work
    • Special Note – Repayment
  3. Pregnant and Nursing Employees

Hazardous Occurrence Investigation and Reporting

  1. Introduction
    • Definitions
  2. Recording and Reporting
    • Minor Injuries
    • Disabling Injuries
    • Incident (Near Miss or Near Hit)
    • Workplace Committee or Representative Involvement
  3. Hazardous Occurrence Investigation Process
    • Why Investigate
    • Principles of Investigation
    • Investigation Procedures

Inspections, Work Place Hazards & Task Hazard Analysis

  1. Workplace Inspections
    • What are Workplace Inspections
    • Types of Inspections
    • Legal Requirements
    • Role of Routine Inspections in a Prevention Programme
    • Elements of the Workplace
  2. Workplace Hazards
    • Acute and Chronic Effects of Workplace Hazards
    • Hazard Categories
    • Exposure Limits
    • Principles of Control
  3. Task Hazard Analysis
    • Definitions
    • Rationale
    • Process