ESTABLISHING AN EFFECTIVE SAFETY COMMITTEE
Generating support for your safety efforts is crucial to establishing a culture of safety in your workplace. A great way to accomplish this is with the creation of a proper safety committee. In fact, the Montana Safety Culture Act requires a formal safety committee for all employers with more than five employees.
This group can be highly effective in getting your whole organization on board with safety and making concrete progress in growing your safety culture by:
- Clearly establishing goals.
- Delegating responsibilities.
- Communicating with employees.
- Providing consistent effort and accountability.
Safety Committee Responsibilities
- Get endorsement and authority from top management.
- Include both line-level employees and management, ideally in a 4:1 ratio.
- Ensure every department is represented in the committee.
- Meet regularly (at least once every four months) to address and achieve specific goals and programs.
- Review circumstances and causes of accidents and recommend corrective measures.
- Review employees’ reports of unsafe working procedures and safety hazards and recommend corrective measures.
- Conduct periodic safety audits.
- Develop and conduct employee safety awareness programs and training.
- Document meetings, topics and participants – see our Safety Committee minutes template for an example.
- Establish mandatory attendance by committee members.
To be effective in creating a safer workplace and developing a safety mindset throughout all levels of the organization, the Safety Committee should:
- Be of sufficient size and number to provide for effective representation of the entire workforce.
- Have more than one safety committee for employers with multiple sites. Ideally, each site has a site-specific committee, and these site groups share among the groups their ideas, challenges and programs.
- Include in its employee membership volunteers or members who are elected by their peers.
- Communicate with all employees regarding safety committee activities.
- Develop safety rules, policies and procedures.
- Educate employees on safety-related topics.
- Inspect the workplace.
- Keep job-specific training current.
- Evaluate the safety program, training and awareness topics on a regular basis.
- Assist the employer in fact-finding – including assessing and controlling hazards, and reviewing incidents of workplace accidents, injuries and illnesses.