6 Steps For An Effective Workplace Safety Committee

small business compliance Freeport

What is a safety committee?

A group of employees and managers who design and implement safety programs. Good safety committees increase employee engagement with policies and procedures. They improve training. They help new associates establish good habits. They protect the organization from compliance violations.

Are you in charge of setting up a safety committee at your business? Not sure where to start? Here is a straightforward checklist.

The Advantage Payroll Services Guide to Creating a Safety Committee

  1. Appoint a capable leader (or co-leaders)
  2. Write a mission statement
  3. Assemble a diverse team (labor + management)
  4. Set goals and review/adapt frequently
  5. Meet at least once a month
  6. Secure the resources to carry out your objective

What does a safety committee do?

  • Design training programs
  • Conduct training
  • Build checklists
  • Increase employee safety awareness
  • Encourage employees to bring up safety concerns
  • Investigate events (accidents, close calls)
  • Write safety manuals
  • Conduct inspections
  • Correct issues that could cause accidents
  • Investigate claims
  • Write policies for dispute resolutions
  • Advocate for associates
  • Solicit employee involvement
  • Improve legal compliance

Let’s examine the 6 steps.

Assign a Director

The leader can make or break your committee. Your point person needs a combination of attributes. Can he inspire his co-workers? Does she follow through? Is he respected by his peers? Does she understand all the departments/equipment/processes? If you can’t find the perfect chairperson, suggest appointing co-chairs. A confident leader/communicator. And a capable person to execute on the plans.

Write a Mission Statement

This is your guiding principle. It gives you your purpose. It doesn’t need to be lengthy.

Don’t Silence Any Voices

Everyone doesn’t have to agree on how to fulfill the mission. You don’t want a group of like-minded people.  The only thing everyone needs is a commitment to improvement. Don’t count out those who criticize management. A variety of viewpoints is preferable. You want a no-holds-barred discussion so you can solve tough problems.

Your objective is a safe workplace where employees watch out for each other. A place where management supports the personnel. And the workers trust management. You may not reach the goal of zero accidents and injuries. But when there is a problem, you will handle it better.

Getting Started

Meet regularly, at least every month. Make sure everyone puts it on their calendar. 

Set ground rules for discussion. Model respectful dialog and expect the same in return.

Set goals short-and long-term goals. Prioritize them and design a timeline for addressing them. If you have recurring issues, with those.

Mix It Up

Rotate membership in and out of the group. Trade roles inside the committee. Stay flexible, though. If you have a star performer who really owns their role, let them go for it. (And thank them for their dedication!)

A safety committee can make a difference:

  • Fewer injuries and accidents
  • Lower worker’s comp premiums
  • Employees taking responsibility for safety
  • Employees making fewer mistakes
  • Improved communication between labor and management
  • Employee participation
  • Increased unity and morale
  • Fewer safety violations and penalties

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