Committee addresses campus safety concerns

They work under the auspices of the Joint Work Site Health and Safety Committee (JWSHSC), but to put it simply, they are your co-workers and they want more people to know about the purpose their committee serves.

The JWSHSC has existed for more than a decade, but the work they do is largely behind the scenes, something the group would like to see change. Their mandate describes a group of employer and employee representatives working together to identify and recommend solutions to health and safety problems at the work site. The University of Lethbridge is that work site, and because of its vast scope, it presents a variety of health and safety challenges.

"The committee serves as a very important communication link between workers and management," says Dan Berte, committee co-Chair and a Health and Safety Officer with Risk and Safety Services. "It's important that the University community has a representative body that is available to them to report issues of health and safety."

Its broad representation of all campus groups is a key benefit of the JWSHSC because it allows anyone an outlet to relay a health or safety concern.

"If any member of the University community feels as though they need to bring up a safety issue, they can go directly to their representative on the JWSHSC," says committee co-Chair Mike Pinder, the operations co-ordinator with Sport and Recreation Services.

Committee representatives can be found on the JWSHSC website at As well, the committee's terms of reference, handbook and minutes from meetings over the past 10 years can also be accessed.

Both Berte and Pinder stress that as a community, we can help each other keep the campus a safe place to work by reporting accidents, incidents or near misses. Only then can action be taken to address hazardous or risky situations.

"We don't resolve the situation, rather we'll take concerns from the community, have a look at it and then make a recommendation for action," says Pinder.

"We really try to instill the message that there will be no repercussions when reporting a health and safety problem," adds Berte. "As we all are responsible for safety on Campus, it's important that these incidents be reported so that the University can act on them and make this a safer environment."

This story first appeared in the November 2012 issue of the Legend. To view the full issue online, follow this link.