No health and safety committee veto on PPE

When the employer introduced a new piece of personal protective equipment, the union grieved. The arbitrator found that the joint health and safety committee did not always approve new PPE and, in any event, the employer was bound by statute to take every precaution to protect employees.
By Mark Rogers
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 08/28/2012

When the employer at a steel mill prescribed an item of personal protective equipment (PPE) that had not been approved by the mill’s Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC), the union pursued a policy grievance.

The union said that the employer could not unilaterally introduce any item of PPE that had not been approved by the JHSC.

Before the Arbitrator, the union argued that language in the collective agreement reserved the right of the JHSC to approve PPE. The union also said that the negotiating history between the parties supported the claim for the committee’s authority.