Most Safety Managers know that safety committees are a good idea, and many states require them by law. But is your committee doing all it can and should be doing? If you answered No, you’re not alone. Here are our top ten tips to start improving today!
1. Review Your Purpose
Safety committees should regularly bring workers together to communicate and promote workplace safety. Does everyone on your committee:
- Understand their role?
- Understand the importance of what they’re doing?
- Feel empowered to make recommendations for improvements?
Take some time at your next meeting to review and clarify your safety mission and goals.
2. Include the Right People
An effective safety committee should be a representation of your company, including a mix of salaried and hourly employees and stakeholders from different departments. Having a good mix of viewpoints can reveal different ideas and opinions and helps you anticipate any potential resistance.
3. Commit to the Committee
Don't squeeze committee meetings into your schedule. Carve out time for safety meetings and commit to them. Whether it's the first Monday of the month or the last Friday of the quarter, pick a day and stick to it!
4. Let Others Drive
As a safety expert, you may find it difficult to take a back seat in your safety meetings. Though it may sound a little strange, it’s important not to be too active. Instead, serve as a coach or as a resource to the group so members feel free to speak up and be creative. Your role here should be more about coordinating management and supporting employees.
5. Conduct an Audit
As a group, review your documented safety processes and procedures to determine if there's a clearer way to communicate safety policies to front-line workers. If you don't have documented safety procedures, start creating them!
6. Walk the Job
Ask your committee to walk the plant floor or jobsite and note safer, more efficient ways to get the job done including signage recommendations, PPE suggestions and lighting improvements.
7. Give Your Training a Trial Run
Use your safety committee as an audience to test your safety training materials and solicit suggestions. Periodic training reviews help keep your information timely and accurate.
8. Look for Blended Training Opportunities
As a group, brainstorm ways you might start to combine two or more forms of delivering information—for example, a combination of classroom instruction and an independent, self-paced online course. A University of Tennessee study showed that a blended learning program reduced both the time and the cost of training by more than 50%. The same study showed a 10% better result in learning outcomes compared with traditional training.
9. Create a Rewards Program
Since you’ll have a mix of front-line workers and experienced managers in the same room, work together to create a rewards program that will motivate your people and spark enthusiasm while helping to reduce injuries.
10. Keep Ideas Fresh
Once you've tapped the committee for their ideas and suggestions, consider rotating members. This opens your committee up for new viewpoints and experiences on an ongoing basis.
Remember to review this Top Ten list periodically to avoid stagnation. Keeping ideas fresh is key to the kind of continued safety improvements that make your committee and your safety program effective now and in the long haul.