Local Safety Committee


A Local Safety Committee is a joint committee made up of worker and employer representatives working together to identify and resolve safety and health problems at the place of employment. It is an organizational unit that can coordinate health and safety activities and monitor the status of the health and safety program.

Employees at all levels must be involved in the structure and operation of the safety and health program and in the decisions that affect employee health and safety. Local Safety Committees:

  • assist in creating a safe and healthy workplace,
  • recommend actions that will improve the effectiveness of the safety and health program
  • promote compliance with WCB and internal regulations.

Departmental Requirements – Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering promotes the Health and Safety Program and encourages active employee participation by fully supporting local safety committee activities. The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering’s Local Safety Committee consists of the bargaining unit and management representatives working cooperatively to improve safety and health performance. Their responsibility is to recommend changes to senior management. Senior management then, in turn, considers and makes decisions on these recommendations.

Management will provide all necessary resources to ensure that the Local Safety Committee is able to function effectively. These include:

  • training for safety committee members
  • administrative support
  • adequate time for committee members to carry out responsibilities
  • open two-way communication channels.

All meeting discussions and decisions are to be recorded and the minutes are distributed to senior management, the local Safety Program Administrator and the Health, Safety and Environment Department.

Terms of Reference for Safety Committee Members


The UBC Policy #7University Safety provides the following general statement of objectives:

“The University aims to provide a safe, healthy and secure environment in which to carry on the University’s affairs. All possible preventative measures are taken to eliminate accidental injuries, occupational diseases and risks to personal security.

Compliance with the Workers’ Compensation Act, WHMIS and related legislation is the minimum standard acceptable. All students, members of faculty and staff are encouraged to strive to exceed these minimum legal standards and eliminate unnecessary risks.

The University Health and Safety Committee works to achieve these objectives by providing education and reviewing policies and procedures.”

Local safety committees

The Local Safety Committees of the University have been mandated in the University Health and Safety policy to:

“Carry out the safety programs within their areas and make recommendations to ensure that the safety objectives of the University can be achieved.”

These Committees have been directed to consider issues of personal safety and security and the fire safety of their work areas.

Committee Membership

All work areas of the University are to be covered by a local safety committee. Questions concerning appropriate areas of jurisdiction and organization of committees should be directed to the University Health, Safety and Environment Office.

Each committee consists of not fewer than four members, each of which works in the area in question and is familiar with local operations. Committee members are designated as representing the University or the Faculty and Staff. As required by WCB Regulations, University representatives should not outnumber Faculty and Staff representatives on the committee. The appropriate Department Head appoints university representatives. Faculty or Staff representatives shall be elected or appointed by their peers. Efforts should be made to ensure all major workgroups or areas are represented on each committee. Faculty members may be appointed as University representatives.

Staff and faculty organizations may each select the number of representatives to sit on the Committee as indicated in the following table:

CUPE 116 1

CUPE 2950 1

Faculty Association 1


CUPE 2278 1

Undergraduate Student Rep 1

Note:  The following is the minimum allowable representation on the safety committee.

Any appointments to the Committee should be for a period of no less than one (1) year. Any

member may be reappointed to the Committee following their initial term.

The local Fire Safety Director shall be an ex-officio member of the local safety committee. The members of the committee then elect from amongst themselves a chair and secretary. Both offices may not be held by staff representatives or by University representatives at the same time.


The quorum at any meeting shall be one-half the currently filled positions plus one. Voting Chemical and Biological Engineering management representatives will not outnumber faculty and staff representatives at any meeting. For matters of routine business (e.g. approval of minutes of the previous meeting), a vote of the majority of the members present would be required. For matters of substance (e.g. policy and procedure recommendations or election of officers), a vote of the majority of a minimal quorum, as defined above is be required.


Members of the Committee shall elect co-chairs at the June meeting, from the Committee membership. Both offices may not be held by faculty and staff representatives or by Chemical and Biological Engineering management nominated representatives at the same time. The nominating committee will consist of the past Co-chairs (or a designate appointed by the current Chairs), who will meet at the beginning of May. The nominating committee is charged with the responsibility of developing a list of candidates for the positions of Co-chair. These nominations shall be distributed to all Committee members prior to the May meeting. Further nominations may be received from the floor at the May meeting. Elections will be held at the June meeting with the elected co-chairs taking office at the September meeting.

Role of Committees

In order to monitor safety programs each safety committee should:

  1. Participate in regular work site inspections and report any hazardous conditions found;
  2. Review written safety instructions and make recommendations for their improvement, particularly when new equipment of processes are introduced;
  3. Review, and make recommendations concerning all reported accidents or incidents which may have occurred in their area of coverage;
  4. Ensure that accidents have been reported to the University Health, Safety and Environment office;
  5. Staff representatives should accompany WCB officers on inspection tours as required by WCB Regulations.
  6. Review, and make recommendations concerning, inspection reports from WCB;
  7. Consider recommendations or suggestions from staff concerning health and safety issues and endorse them where warranted;
  8. Co-ordinate committee activities with the local Fire Safety Director and cooperate with him or her to promote fire safety;
  9. Include in all its activities consideration of conditions or circumstances that may affect the personal security of students, faculty or staff.
  10. Conduct audits of the health, safety and personal security programs in their area of responsibility.

Committee meetings

Meetings are to be held at least once each month, preferably on the same day of each month and should follow an agenda that contains the following topics:

  1. Roll Call or Attendance;
  2. Reading and acceptance of minutes of the last meeting
  3. Report of actions taken as a result of items arising from the minutes;
  4. Reading of correspondence;
  5. Report of committee members who have conducted inspections;
  6. Inspection reports from WCB officers;
  7. Reports of accident or near miss incident investigations, causes and means of prevention;
  8. Recommendations for improvement in safety programs such as training needs, awareness programs; hazard communication, or specific hazard abatement actions;
  9. New business
  10. Time and place of next meeting
  11. Adjournment.

Committee minutes

The Secretary records the minutes of meetings, and copies are distributed to:

  1. All committee members
  2. The Department Head
  3. The University Health, Safety and Environment Office.

Copies of Minutes are to be posted on Department Bulletin Boards.

Committee Recommendations

Committee recommendations concerning the control of hazards or the improvement of prevention programs shall be directed to the administrative head of the unit who has operational responsibility for that workgroup. The administrative head’s response to these recommendations shall be delivered to the committee chair in time for the next committee meeting. Issues that have not been resolved to the satisfaction of the committee may be referred to the Director of Health, Safety and Environment or to the University Health and Safety Committee for their assistance.

Duties of members and officers

The duties of safety committee members are to:

  1. Report unsafe conditions and practices
  2. Attend all safety committee meetings
  3. Report all accidents or near accidents
  4. Conduct inspections
  5. Investigate all serious accidents
  6. Contribute ideas and suggestions for improvement of health and safety
  7. Work safely, and influence others to work safely
  8. Immediately advise anyone who may be affected by any unsafe act or condition
  9. Attend safety courses or seminars that are made available to committee members
  10. Promote and support personal security within a safe learning and working environment.

The duties of the chair

  1. Arrange for a time and place for meetings
  2. Prepare and distribute agenda before the meetings
  3. Review previous minutes and materials prior to each meeting
  4. Report on the status of suggestions and recommendations
  5. Guide committee discussions towards definite conclusions

The duties of the secretary

  1. Prepare minutes of the meeting
  2. Distribute the minutes
  3. Write reports and correspondence
  4. Report on the status of suggestions and recommendations
  5. Guide committee discussions towards definite conclusions

Terms of reference

The terms of reference of the local safety committee shall be periodically reviewed and amended by the University as may be required.