Getting the crew onboard. Creating support for your safety efforts is crucial to establishing a culture of safety in your workplace. A great way to accomplish this is with a proper Safety Committee. (In fact, the Montana Safety Culture Act requires a Safety Committee for all employers with more than five employees.) Depending on the size of your business, this group can move the safety process forward with:
- Clearly established goals.
- Delegation of responsibilities.
- Effective communication between you and your employees.
- Consistent effort and accountability.
Some guidelines. Your committee should be prepared to cover these responsibilities:
- Get endorsement and authority from top management.
- Include both management and employees.
- Insist that every department be represented in the committee.
- Meet often enough to address and achieve specific goals and programs.
- Document meetings, topics, and participants.
- Establish mandatory attendance by committee members.
- Conduct periodic safety audits.
- Review circumstances and causes of accidents, and recommend corrective measures.
- Review employees’ reports of unsafe working procedures or safety hazards, and recommend corrective measures.
- Develop and conduct employee safety awareness programs and training. Be composed of employee and employer representatives and hold regularly scheduled meetings, at least once every four months.
RECOMMENDATIONS: The safety committee should:
- Be of sufficient size and number to provide for effective representation of the workforce.
- Have more than one safety committee for employers with multiple sites.
- Include in its employee membership volunteers or members elected by their peers.
- Include safety committee activities that assist the employer in fact finding.
The committee should document its activities and act as a fact finding body and report to the employer regarding:
- Assessing and controlling hazards.
- Assessing safety training and awareness topics.
- Communication with employees regarding safety committee activities.
- Developing safety rules, policies and procedures.
- Educating employees on safety related topics.
- Evaluating the safety program on a regular basis.
- Inspecting the workplace.
- Keeping job-specific training current.
- Motivating employees to create a safety culture in the workplace.
- Reviewing incidents of workplace accidents, injuries and illnesses.