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10 Ways to an Effective Safety Committee

posted Feb 8, 2010, 1:14 PM by David Wright

  1. Do not make your committee responsible for safety, management has that responsibility.
  2. Senior management involvement is needed to help transform words of commitment into action.
  3. Task your committee to help management develop strategy and advise on the safety and health process and how it’s working.
  4. Use data (incidents, rates, research, behavior analysis, etc.) to support decisions. Track the progress of goals and objectives and help management with the accountability part of the equation.
  5. Avoid using your committee as an operating tool. Don’t have members “do” safety. Incident investigations, inspections, suggestion evaluation and hazard report analysis are better done with fast turnaround by the line.
  6. Give your committee member time, funding, clerical support, and other resources.
  7. Don’t let committee members become the enforcers. Enforcement must fall to management. One possible exception: a behavioral safety process can permit line people (along with management) to reward and coach behavior related to safety.
  8. Ensure your committee is not simply place to let people gather so it can be said a committee exists. Look at how committees are used for quality or operations. Use them as a model.
  9. Consider the National Labor Relations Board rulings on safety committees. Ask your human resources staff to help, or have a labor relations attorney review the mission and organization of the committee.
  10. Measures your committee’s performance. Know when it’s working. If it doesn’t, make adjustments.