7 tips for an effective workplace safety committee

1 – Put progression before perfection at the start. When creating a safety committee, begin the process with immediate and long-term goals, but be careful about aiming too high initially.

What are you going to accomplish? Is there a measurement that you’re going to have?  What can you do to push safety forward just a little bit?


2 – Embrace variety. Workplaces consist of employees with varied positions and backgrounds. Ensure your safety committee follows suit by including a mix of your organization’s labor force and management.

Committees should include current or previous safety champions as well.


3 – Develop a basic curriculum. Be prepared to provide training and materials to boost committee members’ knowledge and recognition of workplace safety and health hazards, as well as ways to avoid and prevent them.

There are numerous safety education resources are available. NSC and other worker safety organizations offer extensive training in a variety of areas, while the OSHA Outreach Training Program includes 10-hour and 30-hour classes.


4 – Plan meetings ahead of time. Develop meeting agendas a few days in advance and distribute them so committee members can prepare. Part of the agenda should include setting a time limit for the entire meeting as well as for each agenda item. Monitor how meetings adhere to these limits.

Have one person serve as the committee’s “conscience.” This person’s duties would include keeping the group focused and ensuring the committee is acting properly, following pre-determined ground rules and treating all members with respect.


5 – Maintain a reasonable rotation among committee members. Ideally, the committee will be made up of volunteers rather than appointed or selected members. That dynamic increases the probability of consistent member investment and energy.

Consider the size of your organization and the committee when deciding the best rotation schematic. The importance of a number of perspectives and the tendency of groupthink to build on an individual’s idea.

For most larger companies, have a rotation of three years on, two years off.


6 – Don’t be boring.  “Make Safety Fun,”

Make fun an agenda item. Talk about what you can do to make safety meetings more fun and make them better.

Opening meetings with personal reflections or exercises before the traditional reading of minutes; using occasional guest speakers; and scheduling some meetings at a nearby restaurant, museum or park.

Professional decorum still applies, of course.


7 – Occasionally look outward. Try to get in touch with other industries and see what they’re doing outside of your field, and see what their safety committee is doing.


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