Your safety committee should have employees eager to serve it, and management responsive to its recommendations.
However, there might be a significant gap between what you’d like to achieve and the committee you see today.
To get your committee from here to there, consider these tips:
Experts suggest a committee of six to 10 members in a company of fewer than 200 employees, with a six to 12 member committee for businesses with 200 to 1,000 employees. Larger businesses or those with various shifts and/or locations, should consider having multiple committees. If you have more than one committee, encouraging members to attend one another’s meetings will ensure “cross-pollination” of best practices and information.
Choose active, productive employees who work well in groups, are comfortable speaking out, and are accessible to their colleagues. One of the most important roles of a member is to serve as a vehicle for rank-and-file employees to express their concerns about working conditions. Some experts recommend having the members elect the head of the committee. Corporate safety managers may participate on committees or serve as advisors, but should not lead the group. To keep the committee fresh, rotate its members. A one-year appointment is usually long enough to let members get something done without burning out.
Although the purpose and activities of committees vary, their tasks generally include:
- Accident investigations
- Safety inspection
- Behavioral observations
- Review of equipment to leased or purchased for safety controls
- Hazard identification
- Reporting problems or concerns to management and/or maintenance
- Recommending corrective actions
- Monitoring new policies and procedures
- Communicating safety and health information and updates to employees
- Participating in safety training
- Developing and managing incentive programs
- Serving as role models for safe practices
Ultimately, you won’t find the right formula on any list. A strong, purposeful safety committee should take inspiration from management’s belief in its work, and have members who want to improve the safety and health of their co-workers.