Joint Health and Safety Committees (JHSCs) are widely acknowledged as important to a healthy and safe work environment. However, it is also widely believed that having a JHSC is necessary but not sufficient; the JHSC must be effective.
A systematic review was undertaken to find empirical studies regarding effective JHSCs; realist review methodology was applied to determine context-mechanism-outcome patterns. Experts from across Canada, various sectors and perspectives including government, employers and unions, were brought together to inform the synthesis.
Thirty-one studies met inclusion criteria. Mechanisms identified as important determinants of JHSC effectiveness across various jurisdictions include adequate information, education and training; appropriate committee composition; senior management commitment to JHSCs and especially a clear mandate with broad scope and corresponding empowerment (possibly legislatively).
Consistent empowerment mechanisms emerge as determinants of successful JHSCs across contexts despite few evidence-based details for best practice implementation. Intervention research is now warranted.
The final report on this project is available on the WorkSafeBC website.