The Role of the Designated Worker
The Occupational Health and Safety Act allows the worker members of the Joint Health & Safety Committee to designate other workers to exercise some of a committee member’s rights and responsibilities regarding workplace inspections and work refusal investigations. In the PDSB, a worker is designated for each location.
The role of the designated worker:
- Conduct workplace inspection of their location each month and submit an inspection report for each inspection
- Participate in work refusal investigations, if any take place at their location
The designated worker may also meet with the Ministry of Labour Inspector during a field visit, if the Inspector asks to meet with someone representing workers.
The role of the alternate:
- Perform the role of the designated worker if the designated worker is unavailable
Please note that, outside of the inspection process, it is not the responsibility of the designated worker to report issues to the supervisor on behalf of his or her co-workers. Each worker is responsible for reporting directly to the supervisor any hazard of which he or she is aware. For more information, please see the Reporting Health & Safety Issues article on this website. That said, when the designated worker comes by during their inspections, workers should inform them of any concerns they may have so that those issues can be noted on the inspection report.
How are Designated Workers and Alternates Selected?
Each May or June, workers have the opportunity to apply for the designated worker role for the following school year. PETL members are encouraged to apply. The worker members of the Multi-Workplace Joint Health & Safety Committee (MJHSC) select designated workers and alternates from among the applications received. Principals, supervisors, the Board’s Health & Safety Department, and management members of the MJHSC do not have influence in the selections.
The selection is for one school year. Designates interested in continuing in their role for the next school year must re-apply and be selected again.
What training does the designated worker receive?
The Board provides training, in the form of Part 1 Basic Certification training, to all designated workers, alternates, and supervisors. It is mandatory for designated workers and alternates to attend this training. Training includes topics such as the role of the MJHSC, its Terms of Reference, hazard identification, conducting workplace inspections, use of the online inspection database, investigating concerns and accidents, and conducting work refusal investigations. The Board also provides a training guide. Designated workers can arrange for a Safety Officer from the Board to accompany them through their first inspection. Additionally, designated workers may seek advice at any time from the worker members of the MJHSC or from the Health & Safety Department.
Questions? Contact the PETL Occupational Health & Safety Teacher Advisor
If you have any questions about the selection and role of designate workers, please contact the PETL Occupational Health & Safety Teacher Advisor, Chris Hoffman, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-564-7233.