Section 134.1 of the Code says every employer who normally directly employs 300 or more people has to establish a policy health and safety committee.
Policy committees ensure health and safety issues are addressed at the corporate level.
The policy health and safety committee has a number of duties, including the following:
- participate in the development of health and safety policies and programs (s.134.1(4)(a));
- consider and expeditiously decide on health and safety issues raised by members or referred to it by a workplace committee or a health and safety representative (s.134.1(4)(b));
- participate in the development and monitoring of a prevention program that also provides for health and safety education of workers (s.134.1(4)(c));
- monitor data on work accidents, injuries and health hazards (s.134.1(4)(g));
- participate in the planning and implementation of changes that might affect occupational health and safety (s.134.1(4)(h)).
The policy committee also has certain powers, such as
- access to any information it considers necessary to identify existing or potential materials, processes, equipment or activities hazards in any of the employer’s workplaces (s.134.1(5));
- full access to all government and employer health and safety reports, studies and tests in the workplace; however, access to medical records will require the person’s consent (s.134.1(6)).
The policy committee meets during regular working hours at least four times every year. In emergencies or other special circumstances, the committee will meet as required during regular working hours or outside those hours (s.134.1(7)).