Effectiveness of joint health and safety committees: A realist review

Authors

  • Dr. Annalee Yassi MD, MSc, FRCPC,

    Corresponding author
    1. Global Health Research Program (GHRP), School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    • Global Health Research Program (GHRP), School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Rm 430, 2206 East Mall, UBC, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z3, Canada.
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  • Karen Lockhart MA,

    1. Global Health Research Program (GHRP), School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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  • Mona Sykes Cert. in OHS,

    1. BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU), Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
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  • Brad Buck BCRSP,

    1. BC Public Service Agency (BCPSA), Government of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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  • Bjorn Stime MPH candidate,

    1. Global Health Research Program (GHRP), School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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  • Jerry M. Spiegel MA, MSc, PhD

    1. Global Health Research Program (GHRP), School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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  • Conflict of interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Abstract

Background

Joint health and safety committees (JHSCs) are widely acknowledged as important to a healthy and safe work environment. However, it is also generally believed that having a JHSC is necessary but not sufficient; the JHSC must be effective.

Methods

A systematic review was undertaken to find empirical studies regarding the effectiveness of JHSCs; realist review methodology was applied to determine context-mechanism-outcome patterns. Experts from across Canada and from various sectors and perspectives including government, employers, and unions, were brought together to inform the synthesis.

Results

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 a broad scope and corresponding empowerment (through legislation and/or union presence).

Conclusions

Consistent empowerment mechanisms emerge as determinants of successful JHSCs across contexts despite few evidence-based details for best practice implementation. Intervention research is warranted. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:424–438, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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