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Last updated: October 31, 2017

What Does Quorum Mean?

A quorum is a predefined minimum number of group members who must be present at a meeting in order for the group to conduct business during that meeting. A quorum may not be considered valid unless the meeting is called properly and all members of the group are given sufficient notice and equal opportunity to attend.

The legal regulations governing workplace health and safety committees typically require a quorum in order for the meeting to be considered valid for the purposes of complying with regulatory requirements.

Safeopedia Explains Quorum

The number of members required for a quorum depends on the jurisdiction and industry. In the United Kingdom, health and safety committees in offshore industries are required to have a third of their membership plus the chair of the committee at every meeting. Workplaces under Canadian federal jurisdiction (e.g. banks) require half of all committee members to be present. Some jurisdictions allow health and safety committees to set their own quorum rules as long as they are consistent and laid out in the committee’s formal rules of procedure.

A quorum rule may require that the minimum number of attendees at a meeting include representation from specific stakeholder groups. For instance, the quorum rules of the Board of the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) require that the Chair of the HSE Board and three other members be present at a meeting to constitute a quorum. One of these three members must represent employers, one must represent employees, and one must not represent either.

In workplaces at which health and safety committees (HSC) are mandatory, it is important for employers to ensure that a meeting will have a quorum so that it meets regulatory rules. The frequency of meetings required by law varies by jurisdiction, and it can be short enough that a missed quorum could threaten an employer’s ability to remain compliant with relevant HSC regulations. For instance, five Canadian provinces and one Canadian territory require monthly meetings. Furthermore, some jurisdictions require that a specific amount of advance notice be provided to group members for a quorum to be valid.

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