This week’s Safetip is about safety committees. The formation of safety committees is a regulatory requirement in some jurisdictions. Safety committees help to foster a culture of safety by bringing together workers and employers.
Eligibility Requirements & Terms of Service Must Be Defined at the Start
WorkSafeMT, a nonprofit organization that aims to improve occupational safety in Montana, published Best Practices for Workplace Safety Committees a few years ago. The document outlines , and the first step consists of determining the structure of the safety committee. As part of this first step also, membership eligibility requirements and terms of service must be clearly defined, to make sure that the safety committee remains enthusiastic and is composed of experienced people, while at the same time encouraging participation and representation, WorkSafeMT says. This is done by developing or defining:
- Membership selection criteria and process.
- Qualification requirements.
- Length of individual membership terms.
- Procedures for rotation of membership.
The exercise should be done for all membership positions, including the chairperson, vice chairperson, secretary and the general membership. Furthermore, WorkSafeMT stresses the importance of ensuring that the criteria for membership selection be consistent with applicable state and local union contractual language.
WorkSafeMT also says that general membership on the committee should be established on a rotation basis. For example, a term would consist of three years, and one third of the general membership would change every year, or a term would consist of two years and half the membership would change every year. However, you should be careful to not reduce the number of experienced and knowledgeable members by having too many general members that change too frequently.
Here are links to additional Safetips on safety committees:
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