207694 Seeing the workplace with new eyes: What helps joint OHS committees?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dorothy Wigmore , OHS consultant and educator, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Knowledge about workplace hazards and how to fix them is not enough for members of joint health and safety committees (JHSCs) to get changes made. It takes know-how about processes, how to make the case for change and being focused on solutions and the strategies that go with them. JHSC members, particularly worker representatives, need time to be trained about, prepare for and do their committee “jobs”. They need respect and support from top management. Those are some lessons that joint health and safety committees in several Manitoba workplaces learned during a successful participatory project. A five-step process framed the activities: where does it hurt? what makes it hurt? how do you find the symptoms and hazards? how should hazards be fixed? how do we get the fixes we need? Consultants developed relevant tools and participatory training using the framework. Starting with basic health and safety training, they followed up with workshops about topics that committee members said they needed: work-related stress, ergonomics and committee process. Using feedback from the workshops, participant observation at committee meetings and other evaluations, the consultants ended up producing a self-help guide to assist joint health and safety committee members see their workplaces “with new eyes”. The presentation will outline the project process, provide interactive examples of workshop activities and materials and discuss the ingredients of successful JHSCs and the related six recommendations backing them up, as well as some of the follow-up feedback about the guide.

Learning Objectives:
List ingredients of effective joint health and safety committees Demonstrate use of tools that contribute to effectiveness Review self-help guide document

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I worked on the project that produced the materials.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.