Safety committees are a key part of safety in the workplace. They focus on allowing the organization to take an overall look at safety requirements and foresee problems. They can also act as a sounding board; a visible and approachable group for safety or health complaints and suggestions. Finally, they provide central coordination of safety training needs.
The makeup of a safety committee can vary depending on the needs, size, and type of company. The following are a few elements that Nickle Electrical found successful when creating its safety committee.
– Appoint a chairperson or leader. This person must display leadership skills such as organization, dedication, excellent working knowledge of the company, and mandate respect from other members.
– Diverse membership. The committee should be comprised of an equal number of management and non-management employees that represent all areas within the company. This includes operations, service, shop, and office personnel. Limiting the size of the committee to 4-12 members will keep meetings moving and allow everyone to get involved. These members should have knowledge of company operations, safety hazards, possess a strong teamwork attitude, and be able to inspire change within the company’s safety program.
– Effective meetings. Meetings should be scheduled at least on a monthly basis with a planned agenda and should last no more than one hour in length. Putting a time limit on meetings keeps members focused and the agenda on track. Additionally, it limits the time employees spend away from their daily job duties.
– Set an agenda. The agenda of each meeting will vary but typical items include a record of attendance, review of recent accidents/injuries, unfinished and/or new business, safety inspection reports, special projects, or presentations.
– Document the committee’s efforts. A written record of the meeting’s proceedings should be prepared by a designated secretary. Minutes from the previous meeting should be discussed along with any follow-up actions. These minutes should be distributed to all members, posted for company employees to read, and sent to key management personnel. Releasing this information is beneficial to the company as it increases safety awareness and keeps employees and management updated on the committee’s progress.
Every company can benefit from having an organized and functional safety committee staffed with involved and contributing employees. They not only create a safe work environment but also involve other employees in the monitoring, education, investigation, and evaluation of the company’s safety efforts. Additionally, their commitment to safety can impact the company’s bottom line by reducing the number of costly accidents and injuries.
We encourage all of our employees to serve on the safety committee and highly recommend that you implement one within your company if it isn’t already established. Employees are the most important asset and each and every one brings something to the table.
Mike Anderson, CHST