Safetip #122: Measure the Effectiveness of Your Safety Committee

April 11, 2018

This week’s Safetip is about measuring the effectiveness of a safety committee. The formation of safety committees is a regulatory requirement in many places. Many American states require companies to have safety committees if they have more than a certain number of employees. Federal and provincial legislation in Canada includes requirements and guidelines for “Joint Health and Safety Committees”. Many European countries also require safety committees.

15 Questions to Measure the Effectiveness of a Committee

A safety committee should measure its performance to identify opportunities for improvement and continue to do what is working. According to a fact sheet from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety (CCOHS), an improved safety performance does not necessarily indicate that a safety committee is effective. There are many questions that can be asked to measure the effectiveness of a committee. CCOHS provides these 15 questions in its fact sheet, along with more background for each:

1) Do workers know who members of the committee are?

2) Are the duties and authority of members known to workers?

3) Is the committee seen by workers as being useful in providing leadership in safety?

4) Is the committee perceived by management as correctly meeting its responsibilities and authority?

5) Do line supervisors see members as a barrier to worker/supervisor communication in safety?

6) Do employees perceive the committee as reducing management’s responsibility for maintaining a safe workplace?

7) Are members perceived as enforcers or advisors?

8) Do workers make suggestions to committee members?

9) Does management representation on the committee reflect its strong commitment to safety?

10) Does management fully support committee activities by providing comprehensive information, time, facilities and training?

11) In a unionized workplace, what support does the union provide to its members on the committee?

12) What proportion of members’ time during paid work hours is spent on safety activities?

13) How many committee recommendations have been implemented?

14) When a recommendation is not implemented, are the full reasons given to the committee?

15) Is the full record of committee recommendations, their implementation, and reasons for non-implementation available to all workers?

To have an idea of the effectiveness of your safety committee, ask yourself these 15 questions and identify areas that need to be improved based on the answers.

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