Thursday, November 1, 2012

Steps to Improving Safety Committees

Every company should consider five critical components when building a strong safety committee, says Al Polito in a recent issue of DureNews.

  1. Right Size. Companies with more than 20 employees should have at least four committee members. In a company with several departments, a representative from each one should be on the committee.
  2. Executive Buy-In. The committee must have authority to enact action plans that involve expenditures, as well as direct accountability for responsible parties.
  3. Meeting Structure. Committees should meet monthly and in person, if possible. Start meetings on time and follow an agenda.
  4. Information Management. Track all information related to workplace safety. Keep a spreadsheet of known safety issues and classify these issues to customers, employee injuries, ergonomic injuries, etc. Detailed minutes must also be recorded for every meeting and posted where all employees have access to them.
  5. Hazard Identification and Evaluation. Conduct a quarterly workplace safety and health inspection in the form of a facility-wide walk-through. A system must be in place for any employee to easily report a hazard, as well as a formal process for investigating, analyzing and evaluating all reported hazards, incidents and near-incidents.

In addition, Polito says that by incorporating fun into workplace safety, employees will be more likely to participate. Promoting employee safety via educational programs, brown-bag lunches, guest speakers and participation in EHS fairs are all fun ways to expand awareness and keep safety interesting, he adds.