Author, Daniel Frazee, ARM, CRIS, Executive Vice President, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.
"The committee must be prepared to promote the #1 goal of any organization…accident prevention."
Establishing a safety committee within your company will enhance the effectiveness of your safety program by identifying hazards and appropriate controls, implementing specific measures, developing clear safe work practices and communicating clearly through all levels within your organization.
As your company looks to build a new committee or perhaps re-build an existing committee, consider the following as some more specific responsibilities that the group can develop:
- Promoting the importance of accident prevention
- Setting attainable goals for safe work practice
- Building a safety program that is a constant work in progress with regular updates and performance evaluation among departments
- Learning root causes through accident investigation
The committee must be prepared to promote the #1 goal of any organization…accident prevention. Employers want their employees to go home every evening to their loved ones. That goal has to permeate through all ranks and be maintained as the culture from the top down. With that as a primary goal, reasonable expectations have to be set for safe work practices that allow the company to maintain their level of productivity. Best Practices dictates that the safety committee must be willing to constructively critique themselves, the safety program and each department with an objective eye toward constant improvement. Establishing root causes for both “near misses” and accidents without prematurely assigning responsibility to a specific person, can build a more open approach to tracing claim frequency and severity trends. This is the critical piece to learning from mistakes or actions to ensure similar events do not recur.
Some final points to consider for a more effective safety committee:
- Participants should encompass all divisions, departments, and levels within an organization. A minimum of one representative/member from each part of the company should sit on the committee.
- Consider having more employees than supervisors which will build a more ground up approach from those people who know the day to day operations and tasks the best.
- Rotate the safety committee chairperson on a regular interval, whether that be every year or every other year. This will allow opportunity for more people to have a voice and continually change the committee in a positive way.
- Identify a clear schedule and recurring time/day for meetings throughout the year. The chairperson should provide an Agenda in advance of meetings so members can prepare accordingly. That chairperson should also recap each meeting with notes, review of recommendations, previous incidents, and/or trainings that have occurred.
- Include a representative from your insurance company’s loss prevention department to help provide perspective, resources and analysis.
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“Safety Committee Development: Consider the time required, the budget, needed, and the desired outcomes, and then facilitate the committee’s efforts using these triple constraints as boundaries,” by Michael E. Bingham, Occupational Health & Safety, www.ohsonline.com.