This week’s Safetip is about safety committees. The formation of safety committees is a regulatory requirement in Canada, many U.S. states, many EU member-states, and other jurisdictions in the world. Safety committees contribute to a culture of safety by bringing together workers and employers.
Identify Areas of Improvement for Safety Committees
After a number of meetings, or at a given timeframe (e.g. once or twice a year), a safety committee’s progress should be evaluated and opportunities for improvement should be identified.
To help you with the evaluation, Minnesota OSHA has designed a self-evaluation worksheet that is part of its Employer’s Guide to Developing a Labor/Management Safety Committee, on pages 17-19. You can use the entire worksheet in its original form, or you can pick and choose individual items from the list to create your own self-evaluation worksheet:
1) Is the safety committee composed of an equal number of employer and employee representatives?
2) Are the employee representatives either elected or selected by their peers?
3) Are the safety committee chairpeople elected by the committee?
4) Are safety committee members compensated for committee training and meetings?
5) Are the terms of service established?
6) Are terms of service alternated or staggered so at least one experienced member is serving on the committee for both labor and management?
7) Are reasonable efforts made to ensure committee members represent the major work activities of the firm?
8) Does the safety committee schedule regular meetings?
9) Does the safety committee work from a written agenda?
10) Are minutes made available to all employees?
11) Are the minutes maintained?
12) Are all reports, evaluations and recommendations made part of the safety committee minutes?
13) Has a reasonable limit been set within which the employer should respond in writing to safety committee suggestions?
14) Has the safety committee set-up a system for collecting safety-related suggestions, reports of hazards or other information directly from those involved in the workplace operations?
15) Is such information reviewed during the next safety meeting and recorded in the minutes?
16) Does the safety committee assist the employer in evaluating the employer’s accident and illness prevention program?
17) Does the safety committee make written recommendations to improve the safety and health program?
18) Has the safety committee established procedures by which the safety committee inspection team can find and identify safety and health hazards?
19) Does the safety committee recommend ways for the employer to eliminate or correct hazards and unsafe work practices in the workplace?
20) Does the safety committee inspection team include employer and employee representatives?
21) Does the safety committee inspection team document, in writing, the location of hazards and identify them?
22) Are inspections of satellite locations done by the safety committee inspection team or by a person designated at the location?
23) Has the safety committee established procedures to review all safety and health inspection reports made by the committee?
24) Based on the results of the above review, does the safety committee make recommendations for the improvement of the employer’s safety and health program?
25) Has the safety committee established procedures for investigating all safety-related incidents, including injury accidents, illnesses and deaths?
26) Have the safety committee’s purpose and operation been discussed with all safety committee members?
27) Have the safety committee’s rules and their application been discussed with all committee members?
28) Do safety committee members have ready access to applicable Occupational Safety and Health Codes?
29) Have safety committee members received safety training based on your company’s activity, hazard identification training and effective accident investigation training?
30) Does the safety committee come to consensus on problems and make recommendations to upper management?
31) Does upper management respond in a timely manner to recommendations from the committee?
Here are links to additional Safetips on safety committees:
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