14 Best practices you can put in place today.
This is part of our series designed for busy business and HR leaders responsible for managing safety programs.
Is your safety committee thriving and contributing to the positive safety culture at your organization? If not, you’re overlooking a valuable influencer at your workplace.
The benefits of safety committees.
Safety committees can play a critical role by empowering employees to identify hazards and correct them before anyone gets hurt. They can also improve morale and management-labor relations when employees and leaders work together. Safety committees provide a forum where employees can bring forward concerns and problem-solve for the long-term. Creating an environment where employees feel cared about and valued generally leads to more productivity and engagement.
Whether legally required or not, your organization will benefit from a well-run safety committee. In Oregon, the rules and regulations are detailed, but using best practices can contribute to a positive overall safety culture.
How do you know if you need a Safety Committee?
In Oregon, the rules are different based on the type of industry, size, and number of locations your organization has, so be sure to check the OR-OSHA rules for the specific details that apply to you. For example, there are different requirements for businesses engaging in agriculture and forest activities.
But, most everyone else fall under the construction and general industry safety committee rules. If you have fewer than 10 employees, then you may have the option of safety meetings rather than formal safety committee meetings. These can save time and reduce paperwork. Be sure to check OR-OSHA requirements to see if this applies to your organization.
Getting the most out of your safety committee: 14 best practices.
Whatever specific rules your organization must follow, taking an organized and inclusive approach is important for success. Let’s look at your safety committee policy and make sure you are using best practices that enhance your organization’s culture.
1. Does it include a commitment from management to workplace safety and health?
2. Does it require employee involvement and describe what that means?
3. Does it describe how management will hold everyone in the business accountable for safety and health?
4. Is there an easy way for employees to report hazards?
5. Does it describe methods for identifying and correcting safety and health hazards at each location?
6. Are meeting minutes documented and kept for three years?
7. Are there equal number of employee-elected or volunteer members and employer-selected members?
8. Is the chairperson elected by the committee?
9. Has there been accident and incident investigation training?
10. Has there been hazard identification training?
11. Are all major activities of the organization represented on the committee?
12. Does the committee meet regularly? (For mostly office work, the committee must meet quarterly. For all other work, the committee should meet monthly.)
13. Is your committee conducting quarterly walkthroughs identifying hazards?
14. Is your committee making recommendations? Is a management official responding to those recommendations in a timely manner?
When you look at this list of best practices, it may seem like another administrative burden. But look more closely. A safety committee can be used to identify hazards and address them before anyone gets hurt. It can be a tool to create a dialogue where employees are valued and can be heard. This can create a safety culture that values people and improves the bottom line.
Yours in success,
Chief Safety Consultant
Rebecca is the Chief Safety Consultant of Integrated Success HR Consulting & Coaching, LLC. She has extensive credentials and experience as an Environmental Health and Safety/Risk Management professional and leader across a variety of industries. Her background in for-profit, non-profit and governmental organizations, and as a former OSHA compliance officer, means Rebecca knows how to design cost-effective programs that really work. Rebecca’s passion is translating her vast experience into straight-forward programs for busy leaders.