Is Your Safety Committee as Good as It Can Be?

Are your safety committee team members just putting in face time or are they really committed to improving safety in the workplace?

This is a good question to ask because safety committees are an important component of good safety programs. Safety committee members can contribute to an organization in important ways, for example:

  • Monitoring safety hazards in the workplace
  • Taking lead roles in emergency situations
  • Reviewing incident reports
  • Facilitating workplace inspections
  • Serving as mentors to new employees
  • Assisting with safety training
  • Helping to create organizational safety goals

While safety committees can accomplish great things in an organization, it depends on the individuals who are involved. Are members enthusiastic, each excited about and committed to protecting the health and safety of their co-workers? Or do employees participate as little as possible? Once their tenure is up, they forget about safety and go back to their jobs.

If you want to find out why your safety committee isn’t working very well, take a step back and consider the following:

  • Do you have representatives from all levels of the organization, top management to shop floor? You want good representation to ensure all areas of the workplace are covered and that every voice is heard.
  • Are members appointed, do they volunteer or do they apply for membership? Appointing employees to serve may appear as punishment to some people.
  • Do members understand the role of the committee, as well as their specific duties? The purpose of the committee should be clearly stated, with members’ roles and responsibilities spelled out.

Ideally, a safety committee should only consist of members who truly want to be there because they are dedicated to achieving the goals of the committee. To get workers to volunteer, you have to make it worth their while. Employees need to know that the company values the their contributions. This can be achieved by:

  • Recognizing the importance of the committee during company meetings
  • Publicizing the efforts made by the committee on a regular basis
  • Providing occasional perks for members (prime parking spots, free lunches, special training opportunities, etc.)

A safety committee that can enact real change will also go a long way toward attracting forward thinking, enthusiastic and action–oriented individuals.