Establishing an effective safety committee is a major step toward implementing a formal safety program. Selecting committee members, establishing dates and meeting times, determining topics to discuss, and maintaining an interest in safety are the real challenges to the success of the committee once it has been established.
A firm commitment from top management is vital to the success of any safety committee. A policy statement or letter from the president of the company is needed to confirm that management is committed to a safe work environment.
Selection of committee members should include a comparable mix of management, supervisors, and employees. Typically, the safety director, HR manager, or person directly in charge of the company’s safety programs acts as leader or chairman for the meetings. Members should be rotated on a periodic basis (select new members after serving a one- to two-year term).
Meeting times and dates should be consistent to develop a routine and allow members to adequately prepare for each meeting. To maximize effectiveness, meetings should be held monthly, every two months, or quarterly at a minimum. To reduce confusion as to meeting times or dates, send clear and precise meeting details like, “Safety committee meetings will be held on the second Monday of each month at 10 a.m. in the training room.” Serve some refreshments to help provide a relaxed and casual atmosphere.
Goal of Committee
The function of a safety committee is to create and maintain active and positive interest in safety. This can be accomplished by providing open, two-way communication among the management, its representatives, and employees. Ideally, the safety committee should provide an open forum where personnel can take part in and discuss accident causes and means of prevention. By discussing accident causes and possible solutions, the committee can effectively use a broad spectrum of expertise to help resolve deficiencies in the most practical, cost effective manner.
Duties assigned to safety committees vary widely from company to company. Designated duties should conform to your specific needs. Following is a list of typical duties:
- Establish safety objectives and policies.
- Review all accident reports to monitor thoroughness and corrective actions.
- Analyze accidents to develop trends (e.g., nature of injury, part of body, departments).
- Perform regular plant inspections and rotate members different areas can be inspected.
- Perform employee work practice observations to identify unsafe behavior.
- Follow up on recommendations generated from previous meetings and inspections.
- Establish safety topics for training of employees and focus on preventing accidents.
An effective safety committee can positively influence attitudes toward safety by stimulating awareness and participation in safety activities. The safety committee, by providing an open forum for discussion of topics relevant to safety issues, also provides a vehicle where management can express concern for the well-being of employees. Download a sample meeting agenda here.
WCF Insurance Safety Department
NOTICE: This guide may make reference to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations; however the guide is not legal advice as to compliance with OSHA or other safety laws, codes, or regulations. Compliance with OSHA and other safety laws codes or regulations, and maintaining a safe work environment for your employees remains your responsibility. WCF Insurance does not undertake to perform the duty of any person to provide for the health or safety of your employees. WCF Insurance does not warrant that your workplace is safe or healthful, or that it complies with any laws, regulations, codes, or standards.