Creating a culture of safety within a workplace begins and ends with the implementation of a quality company safety committee. Businesses both large and small utilize these committees to communicate company safety policies, reinforce company safety protocol, and educate employees about the benefits of staying safe within the workplace.
Understanding the Structure, Functions, and Basics of an Efficient Company Safety Committee
A company safety committee’s main purpose should be to develop the processes necessary to achieve company safety goals. However, these policies are only as good as the structure they follow, the functions they operate under, and the people who establish them. This means it is important that you create your company safety committee with efficiency in mind.
The following are basic areas to consider when establishing a safety committee:
- Open participation to all employees. All departments should be represented. This should include office staff.
- Members should be limited to between five (5) and fifteen (15) members. Five to seven members are ideal. Rotate members keeping in mind not to affect the work accomplished by past members.
- Assign specific responsibilities to all committee members. Members can be assigned the responsibility to research information and develop policies and procedures reporting back to the committee. Always establish dates for the member to complete the task.
- Always establish a frequency period to hold the meetings. In the beginning, a monthly meeting most likely will be needed to set up the committee structure. However, over time, the meeting schedule will be driven by safety problems identified, new policies needed, and the introduction of new equipment or accidents that indicate a change in the safety program is needed.
- Whenever possible, pre-schedule meetings.
- Prepare an agenda.
- Limit meetings to 1-hour if possible.
- Provide minutes of the last meeting.
The functions of a safety committee are also important. While some companies utilize these committees for purely symbolic and compliance purposes, we recommend actually making good use of your safety committee.
Here are a few recommended functions every safety committee should follow:
Functions of a Safety Committee
- Provide a forum for formulation and discussion of safety rules and policies.
- Provide a channel for recommended safety rules and policies to be accepted and approved by senior management.
- Review and update safety training requirements.
- Stimulate the interest of employees.
- Make recommendations on the requirements and use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Develop safe work practices.
- Review accident reports and modify safety program to address failures that lead to the incident.
- Conduct facility inspections to gage the effectiveness of the safety program.
And to be an effective member of a safety committee, members must adhere to some basic expectations. Simply filling a seat within a committee is not enough. Members should be punctual with their work, respectful of others, and prepared to get their hands dirty.
Here are some safety committee basics every member should get behind:
Safety Committee Basics for Members
- As a member of the committee, show up on time.
- Finish on time.
- Follow the agenda; do not get side tracked.
- The meeting is not a social event or a complaint session.
- Set reasonable goals. Remember, Rome was not built in a day. Each meeting should build on the accomplishments of the last meeting.
Companies that have a functional safety committee and follow the above elements have been extremely successful in developing a strong safety culture—which, as a result, has helped them reduce the number of workplace injuries, workers compensation claims, and safety violations.
At AWANE, we are a non-profit automotive trade association. We are organized for the benefit of member companies in automotive related businesses throughout New England. And we believe safety should always come first.
Feel free to contact us with any questions, or consider setting up an appointment to learn more about creating effective safety measures within your workplace setting. We are always here to help you learn more about our benefits administration services and our employee benefits programs and expertise.