Chances are, you already have a safety committee in some form or another. Environmental Remedies’ safety committee has been going strong for 10 years. Safety committees, especially for industries involving inherent physical risks, are vital to helping to reduce workplace illnesses and injuries, as well as to ensuring compliance with government health and safety regulations. But they can only accomplish those things if they’re operating a top effectiveness, and that’s hard to maintain over the long term. The fact is, safety committees tend to struggle for various reasons as time goes on. Is your safety committee still as valuable to your workplace as it could be?
If you’re not sure—or if the answer’s no—we have some tips to offer for maximizing your safety committee’s effectiveness:
- Write a mission statement or agreement. Define clearly the committee’s purpose, member duties, and specific functions. Also, explain regulatory requirements that must be met.
- Back it with a budget. Invest funds into your committee for health and safety resources, wellness programs, safety emphases, and perhaps even incentives.
- Involve upper level management. Meaningful and clear support from the top adds cachet to your safety committee. Also committees with management members are more likely to influence workplace safety.
- Include employees at every level. Workers on the front line have experience and insight that’s invaluable for your safety committee’s purpose and goals. Including employees from all departments and all shifts also gives everyone a voice.
- Rotate committee members. If the same employees sit on the committee for years, your committee may lose its enthusiasm. New voices with fresh ideas and insight make for a vigorous and successful committee.
- Make meetings enjoyable. Certainly, create a set schedule for your committee meetings, but make meetings as pleasant and lively as possible so members want to participate. Not only will encourage current members, it will help in recruiting new members.
- Publicize the committee’s accomplishments. Let everyone know, via as many methods as possible, what your company is doing to protect employees’ health and safety.
- Consider multiple safety committees. Your warehouse, lab, production line, and administrative offices could each support a committee. If your operations are wide or you have multiple locations, this is especially important.
Finally, your safety committee should actually have some teeth. Management needs to empower the committee to effect changes that make a positive difference for all employees’ health and safety. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Make your safety committee a real force within your company. Your people are your greatest asset. Get them involved in making your plant a safe place to work. For more information, here’s an article we published, “How to Make Safety First More than Lip Service at Your Plant.” And to learn more about safe operations, contact Environmental Remedies at 800-399-2783.