Do’s and don’ts of creating a safety committee

Kearin Kasper mug shotBy Kearin Kasper
SCF Arizona Loss Control Manager
(This is a three-part series exploring the merits of having a safety committee. PREVIOUS POST: Part 1 — Outlining the safety committee’s purpose, objectives and roles. TODAY: Part 2 — How to form a safety committee. Next: Part 3 — Critical elements to success. This posting is general information only; to read our disclaimer, click here.)

We’ve taken a look at the basic role and purpose of forming a safety committee. Now let’s look at the do’s and don’ts of creating one.

Do:

1)  Gain executive commitment. Management commitment provides the motivating force and resources for organizing and controlling activities within the organization. Safety culture must align with the business culture. Management will outline the authority level given to the safety committee.

2)  Members must be a combination of employees from various levels within the organization. All departments and/or functions should be represented. Leadership and make-up of the committee should rotate annually to provide “fresh” eyes. One suggestion: having two co-chairs who act as facilitators means they can alternate roles month to month. Are members volunteers, recommended by their supervisors/co-workers, or assigned? Members that are volunteers can be more motivated than those that are assigned to the task. An interview process to make sure members are a good match is recommended.  Best practices call for a pre-established meeting agenda with a specific scribe taking minutes that will be documented and forwarded to leadership. Click here for a suggested “Safety Committee Minutes” form.

3)  Make attendance mandatory with penalty of removal for repeated absences.

4)  Provide position descriptions for the general members to clarify roles and responsibilities.

Don’t:

1)  Get involved in disciplinary matters. Issues with safety compliance are the responsibilities of supervisors and human resources.

2)  Waste company time and resources. Be realistic and keep profitable outcomes that impact bottom-line cost savings as a major focus to improving safety

3)  Turn into “safety cops. While some can become overzealous, most employees don’t like to be enforcers. Don’t play the blame game

4)  Make it a complaint session. Often committee members use this forum to discuss non-safety issues just because other management is present.

Next up: Part 3 – Critical elements to success

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