The general purpose of a safety committee is to minimize risk as well as ensure the safety and health of employees. While they can minimize the possibilities of hazard at your workplace, the question is – does your business need one?

Workplace safety committees are not a necessity for all businesses, but they can create a highly engaged, safe, work environment. So why should you consider a committee? Well, here is what they can bring to the table for your company.

What Is a Workplace Safety Committee?
For starters, a safety committee is a council comprised of members with representatives from labor functions as well as management teams who review, create, and refine procedures related to safety.
While it may seem that only industries that involve obvious dangers, like those involving heavy equipment, manufacturing, or chemical use, necessitate a safety committee, all industries can benefit from having an established body in place to proactively prevent unnecessary dangers.
Based on the type of company, a workplace safety committee serves many functions, including:

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  • Create workplace safety practices
  • Conduct reviews and audits of the workplace
  • Organize and lead safety training presentations
  • Promote issues of employee interest related to health and safety
  • Review incidents, potential incidents, accident reports and other documentation of challenges to refine policies and prevent reoccurrence
  • Introduce a forum that allows for the discussion of safety issues on an as-needed basis

Who Needs a Workplace Safety Committee?
Regardless of whether your state requires organizations in your industry to have a workplace safety committee in place, these committees can be vital to maintaining and/or improving safety. The prevalence of accidents in the workplace attests to the importance of establishing a safety committee. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 3 workers’ compensation claims are filed for every 100 full-time workers. As such, organizations of all industries can benefit from workplace safety committees.

How Can I Start a Workplace Safety Committee?
Starting a workplace safety committee requires a specific goal rather than a simple global mission to improve safety. If you have multiple locations, consider at least one committee per location. Safety committees should consist of a healthy mix of those at all levels of the organization.
It's best to appoint an individual who has demonstrated leadership skills and can oversee the group. Select the right number of people needed for your particular objective from the most valuable departments and determine what role each individual will play. To make sure goals are achieved:

  • Hold regular meetings and set clear agendas
  • Make attendance mandatory
  • Record meeting minutes that summarize all issues discussed
  • Set both long-term and short-term goals to ensure ongoing progress
  • Share the accomplishments of the committee

If your company is considering implementing a safety committee to, be sure to review the requirements and guidelines so your newly formed council is poised for success.


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Article and photo courtesy of Selective Insurance.