10 Safety Committee Killers

Don’t let these missteps squash the effectiveness of your safety committee and overall safety culture.

  • Undefined committee functions and member duties.
  • Lack of member training on technical safety and health issues, familiarity with data gathering and experience with group dynamics and meeting participation.
  • Insufficient budget for safety and health activities and incentives.
  • Inadequate size committee for the size of the organization and its hazard potential.
  • Lack of formal meeting agendas.
  • Lack of communication of the committee meeting minutes and actions to employees and managers.
  • Lack of follow-up on action items.
  • Lackluster participation from some members or departments/workgroups,
  • Management over-participation that stifles meetings and decisions,
  • Committee members not empowered to make changes for the health and safety of all employees,

Tips for successful safety committees:

  • Publicize the committee’s formation and offer an introductory training meeting for all employees.
  • Make a directory of the committee members and the departments they represent. Consider including photos.
  • Consider rotating members after they have served for a set term and have departing members train new members.
  • Provide a special award for safety committee involvement/ membership or plan a dinner/luncheon for employee members to acknowledge their contribution.
  • Set short-term and long-term goals for the year. Focus on injury prevention and eliminating known or potential loss sources. Review the goals periodically to determine their effectiveness.
  • Set clear meeting agendas, distribute them in advance, review them at the beginning of each meeting and follow them.
  • Plan the agenda for the next meeting before adjournment and avoid overloading it or carrying over items unnecessarily.
  • Take meeting minutes that summarize the issues discussed, proposed actions, specific people responsible for following up on each item and target dates for completion.
  • Provide copies of meeting minutes to employees and management in newsletters, emails, posts on workplace billboards, etc.
  • Look for innovative ideas/solutions to action items.
  • Stay focused on legitimate safety issues. Don’t let the committee become a general complaint forum.
  • Make inspections a cooperative task for workers and management representatives.
  • Share the actual costs of injuries with committee members.
  • Communicate and recognize achievements, incoming and outgoing members and improved performance in injury/incident trends.