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Occupational Health & Safety Alert - Health and Safety Committees

Establishing a health and safety committee is an effective way to support a company’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program by providing an opportunity for management and employees to work together on promoting safety and well-being for all employees.

Benefits of a committee

  • Prevention and reducing the risk of workplace injuries and illnesses
  • Employee engagement and commitment to a company’s safety program
  • Expanding safety communications and training to all employees
  • Ensure compliance with federal and state health and safety regulations

Committee Best Practices

Safety committees can vary in size, structure and frequency of meetings, based on a company’s population, accident records, nature of operations, and potential risks of the industry. Additionally, some states may have OSHA specific safety committee provisions.

Identify a committee chairperson, who is skilled at leading teams and has the support of senior management.

Members of the committee should represent a cross section of management and employees. This would include individuals representing safety, security, human resources, health and wellness plans, risk management, supervisors, and a diverse group of employee team members. The combined skills and resources of a cross functional committee can add tremendous value by providing more holistic and expanded perspectives regarding employee health and safety.

The chairperson should outline the duties and responsibilities of the committee, including:

  • Develop committee goals with tactics on achieving these goals
  • Participation at scheduled committee meetings
  • Review existing safety programs, with recommendations for continuous improvement
  • Distribute safety and health information to employees
  • Conduct workplace surveys to identify and correct any unsafe conditions or acts
  • Participate in accident investigations and analyze injury data
  • Respond to safety concerns raised by employees

It is important to maintain commitment and enthusiasm amongst members of the safety committee with visible support and recognition by senior management, encouraging innovative ideas and suggestions such as, integrating the safety committee with the wellness committee that can advocate employee safety and wellbeing both at work as well as off work.

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