“Definition of Work Place Inspection Under Part II - Canada Labour Code”
Please find below confirmation of legislative requirements from Marc Béland, Health and Safety Officer at HRSDC in regards to monthly workplace inspections, the requirement to have both co-chairs (or their alternate) present at every committee meeting, and the need to have separate workplace committee meetings at sites occupied by two or more different government departments.
1- Work place inspections - Section 135.(7) (see below) stipulates that a workplace health and safety committee (WHSC) shall inspect each month the workplace or part of the workplace.
What is meant by this is the workplace shall be inspected each month. In cases of sizeable workplaces, for example a department occupying 12 floors, it would be acceptable to inspect one floor per month. Regardless of the type of occupancy (offices, laboratories, industrial process) of the workplace, each workplace or part thereof must be inspected each month. There is no provision in the Canada Labour Code Part II that allows a WSHC or an employer not to inspect a workplace each month.
Duties of committee:
135.(7) A work place committee, in respect of the work place for which it is established
(k) shall inspect each month all or part of the work place, so that every part of the work place is inspected at least once each year;
2-Attendance of co-chairs at WHSC meetings - Like any other member of the WHSC it can be expected that from time to time a co-chair may not be able to attend a meeting. It is acceptable and expected that another WHSC member step in for the absent co-chair, alternatively the co-chairs could name another committee member as an alternate. The reason I suggest another committee member is for continuity. The quorum (i.e. equal number of members or more employee members) must still be respected.
3-WHSC meetings - As per Section 135.(10) WHSC are required to meet a minimum of 9 times per year. A WHSC is created where an employer has 20 or more employees at one site. If at a site, separate departments decide to have an "inter-departmental" health and safety committee, this is over and above the code, this "committee" is not subject to the Code and does not meet the definition of a WHSC. This means that each employer's WHSC still has to meet separately.
Western Business Representative
IBEW Local 2228