People take a stronger interest in decisions when they have a say or vote in the outcome. This is true for simple choices like daily lunch orders, colors of uniforms, or what to get a boss during the holidays. It’s also true in situations with greater consequences.
This is why employers work so hard to increase employee engagement in safety initiatives and their company’s safety culture. Because workers directly involved in safety initiatives and the safety culture work harder to promote safety in the workplace — for themselves and their coworkers. Yet many organizations struggle to engage employees in company culture and directives. This creates obstacles for employers working to achieve safety goals, make safety improvements, and keep injury and incident numbers low.
A safety committee builds the bridge that directly connects workers to their company’s safety culture. Because a safety committee brings together employees and supervisors across an organization to speak openly about safety concerns and solutions. These safety groups are an opportunity to share different perspectives on hazards and safety, provide management with key insights, and unite and align an organization toward achieving safety goals as a team.
Building a Safety Committee
A successful safety committee is formed of employees representing every level of an organization united to define safety goals, outline safe working habits, and reduce hazards and safety incidents. This means that the committee needs members from every team possible — from the front-line workers up to higher management.
This gives the committee important insights into job functions and duties from the perspective of the workers most familiar with these roles. The committee can use these insights to create safety solutions for blind spots or issues that would have previously gone unnoticed or created more issues in the future.
But a safety committee also requires resources, direction, and a supportive atmosphere to work as intended. Be consistent and diligent about meeting times and attendance. Establish committee roles, an agenda, and track meeting notes to follow up on directives and goals. Open discussion should be encouraged from every member on safety topics brought up during meetings to promote a dialog and gain insights from the unique perspectives of each team. Provide education and workshops to develop strong safety leaders within the committee and to cement safety best practices to pass along to each team.
How Safety Committees Strengthen Safety Culture
The safety committee’s purpose is more than the open discussion around safety topics. The committee’s true goal is to provide solutions for safety issues at their source. And management adopting safety committee solutions and decisions makes the committee more effective and increases employee safety engagement.
Employer solutions are more direct and impactful when backed by safety committee findings. Because the unique insights from the blend of committee members show employers exactly where to focus their efforts and resources. This creates solutions that drill down to specific actions and tasks versus creating blanket directives that are one-size-fits-all for departments.
And actions always speak louder than words alone. Employers that follow through on safety committee solutions promote the company’s culture of safety in key ways.
Safety committee solutions make front-line workers more engaged in safe working habits and in the safety of their coworkers because the front-line work sees the greatest results from reduced injuries, hazards, and incidents. These workers are then more invested in safety education and the safety committee as the work continues to be less risky, more efficient, and more productive. This creates a sturdy foundation of support for the company’s safety culture to build upon.
Employers develop a safety committee as an investment in the well-being of every employee. This investment places trust in key workers to advocate for their co-workers and pays back with a loyal team that is committed to upholding a safety culture that shows the company cares about its workers’ lives.
Both employers and employees benefit most when workers are safe, secure, and happy, and developing a strong safety committee drives these gains.