At the 2015 PRIMA Conference, this session addressed how to establish safety committees and explored the lessons learned to ensure committees are effective. The speakers included Sarah Perry, ARM-P, City of Columbia and Oscar Goedecke, CSP, Travelers Insurance.
The purpose of a safety committee is to protect employees, the public and the environment. The safety committee can continuously try to improve loss prevention and reduction process. The point is to reduce injuries, illnesses, property damage, environmental harm and their associated risks.
A safety committee can provide many benefits because it:
- involves more people/viewpoints
- fosters safety awareness
- promotes working together and communication
- withstands management and staffing changes
- spreads safety responsibilities
- provides a resource for the organization
- develops individual members
The panel offered several suggestions on how to establish a safety committee, including the following:
- establish one central safety committee then sub-committees
- solicit interested volunteers as members
- select a recorder to keep accurate minutes and maintain records
- elect a chairperson
- establish a monthly meeting schedule
- develop team ground rules and bylaws
- assign responsibilities for committee members
- clear agendas to attend all meetings
- contribute ideas and discussions
- respect the opinion of others
- assist with development and assignments
- evaluate past/present safety practices, procedures and results against goals
- set proper safety examples at all time
The responsibilities of a safety committee, include representing the safety concerns of all employees, review the organization’s safety program and make proposals for improvement, establish procedures for periodic hazard inspections, review incidents resulting in work-related deaths, injuries or illnesses, conduct follow up evaluations and assess effectiveness, and establish process for committee to obtain safety information directly from person involved.
There are several signs that you have a successful safety committee, including employees ask to join the committee, meeting attendance improves, employees approach members with safety issues/suggestions, the committee is able to focus on more proactive activities, behavior change occurs, and injuries/illnesses decrease overall.