Under the Act, management must respond to committee, co-chair or representative recommendations within twenty-one calendar days, whether they agree with it or not. For those recommendations that management agrees with, they must provide a timetable for implementing it. For those recommendations they do not agree with, they must provide reasons why they don’t.
Examples of responses include:
Manager’s Initial Confirmation
When a manager receives a written recommendation from the JHSC, the manager should immediately confirm with the JHSC that they have received it, are reviewing it and will provide a written response. This could be done verbally, via telephone, e-mail or in writing.
Management Agrees with Recommendation
If the receiving manager agrees with the recommendation and it does not require further investigation, the receiving manager should implement the recommendation if s/he has the authority to do so. The manager must submit a written response to the JHSC, providing a timetable for its implementation. The manager’s response may be provided on one of the following:
- JHSC Recommendation Form
- 21 Day Response Letter
- Other written document including inter-office memo or letter
Manager Does Not Have Authority to Implement
If the receiving manager does not have the authority to act on the recommendation, they shall forward it immediately to a designated employer representative who does have the authority. They shall advise this person that this is a recommendation from the JHSC with a deadline to respond. They shall also advise the JHSC that they have forwarded the recommendation to another management staff and advise to whom and when it was forwarded.
NOTE: It is the responsibility of the manager who originally received the response to track it, even though it has been assigned to someone else.
Further Investigation Required
If management believes further investigation is required to evaluate the hazard or concern, or to investigate alternate solutions; management shall advise the JHSC in writing. This response shall include what further investigation is being undertaken and a timetable for completing it. If hygiene monitoring, ergonomic assessments, or other health and safety assessments are conducted, copies of the reports shall be provided to the JHSC.
Corrective Action Requires Work Orders
If management agrees with the recommendation but the corrective action requires a maintenance work order, a work order shall be submitted immediately. The work order shall clearly indicate that the requested work is in response to a JHSC recommendation. Maintenance shall provide a timetable for completing the work. Management shall advise the JHSC that a work order was submitted on such a date with an expected completion on such a date. A copy of the work order shall be provided to the JHSC. Should maintenance have a better or alternate suggestion to correct the hazard or concern, they shall notify the manager originating the request immediately.
Corrective Action Requires Purchasing
If management agrees with the recommendation but the corrective action requires the purchasing of any vehicle, equipment, tools, personal protective equipment, chemicals or furniture; management shall comply with the City Policy for Incorporating Occupational Health, Safety and Ergonomic Principles into the Purchasing Process, including consulting with the JHSC.
Management Disagrees that Hazard Exists
Should management believe there is no hazard, they must provide a written response to the JHSC within the 21 calendar days, explaining clearly how they reached their decision and why it is, in their opinion, not a hazard.
Management Disagrees with Proposed Solution
Should management agree with the JHSC’s identification and assessment of the hazard/concern but disagree with the proposed solution; they must respond in writing to the JHSC, outlining their proposed solution. If there are significant differences in solution, it might be prudent to discuss the issue to be certain each party has an understanding of the hazard.
“No Budget” Response
Should management agree there is a health and safety hazard, a response that states only that the division has no budget to correct it is not acceptable. This response places the manager and City in a position of significant liability including orders, fines and charges under numerous provincial and/or federal statutes including but not limited to:
- Occupational Health and Safety Act
- Workplace Safety and Insurance Act
- Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act
- Highway Traffic Act
- Criminal Code
- Environmental Protection Act
- Fire Protection and Prevention Act
- Building Code Act
- Technical Standards and Safety Act
When a hazard has been clearly identified, the immediate action of the employer must be to assess and control it. When funds are a problem, the goal should be to address immediate hazards with short-term solutions while budgeting for long-term ones. Members of the committee, safety consultants and engineers can assist in developing both short-term and long-term solutions.