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Safety and Health Committees

Minimize risks for your business

A safety and health committee is one of the most effective tools your business can use to help prevent accidents and injuries. Successful committees have a defined purpose and structure, identified goals, appropriate membership and support from the top.

Committee Types and Functions

Since requirements vary from one organization to another, the structure and scope of safety and health committees also varies. Committee effectiveness is determined by how it is organized, what guidelines it follows, how membership reflects your workforce, its degree of autonomy and where final authority lies for implementing recommendations.

Ensure each committee's success by maintaining management’s active involvement to make it effective and responsible. Implement the committee type that best fits your requirements:

  • corporate or company committees
  • plant central committees
  • departmental committees
  • supervisors' committees
  • workers' committees
  • sub committees, such as behavioral safety, ergonomics, accident investigation and more

A safety and health committee performs many functions:

  • providing direction for the safety and health program by establishing annual goals, objectives and action plans
  • discussing safety policies and recommending their adoption by management
  • discovering unsafe conditions and practices and providing solutions
  • obtaining results by putting management-approved recommendations into practice
  • teaching safety practices to committee members, who may then teach them to all personnel
  • stimulating and maintaining the interest of superintendents, foremen and group leaders while keeping them informed on safety matters
  • stimulating and maintaining the interest of workers to keep them aware of safety practices that prevent accidents
  • making safety activities an integral part of operating policies, methods and function
  • providing an opportunity for free discussion of accident problems and preventive measures, including a suggestion system to obtain information on unsafe conditions
  • helping your operating manager evaluate safety suggestions

Committee Membership, Policies and Procedures

Your corporate, company or plant central committees may find it valuable to consider some best practices, such as:

  • listing the policies and procedures that define the scope of committee activity, the extent of committee authority and enforceable procedures
  • documenting committee membership, meeting attendance and meeting minutes as well as the time, place and frequency of meetings
  • establishing committees of five to 15 members. Studies show committees of five or seven function most effectively and productively
  • representing the different departments in your business
  • appointing a management co-chairman to facilitate autonomy and authority in correcting at-risk behaviors
  • making sure the maintenance department is represented on the committee
  • allowing the co-chairpersons or workers to determine committee membership, as long as several departments are represented

To get the best results, look for committee members who are:

  • receptive to new ideas
  • familiar with the production processes
  • interested in safety and health issues
  • able to express ideas
  • interested in the needs of the entire workforce
  • willing to compromise when necessary
  • respected by co-workers
  • willing to attend meetings and work on projects

Develop a system that enables frequent committee membership rotation. This allows a number of employees to become actively involved in the safety effort and take part in the decision-making process. Stagger membership appointments to maintain a sense of continuity and avoid a complete turnover at the same time. Consider membership appointments in proportion to department size and the nature of work.

Committee Meetings

Consider adopting an order of business for safety committee meetings, including:

  • Call to order
  • Roll call by the secretary
  • Introductions
  • Minutes
  • Unfinished business
  • Review of accidents and statistics
  • Safety education
  • Inspection and recommendations
  • New business
  • Adjourn

Contact Us

Cincinnati’s loss control services are free to our policyholders. Let us tailor a loss control program for your business. For more information, or to schedule a meeting with a Cincinnati loss control representative, please contact your local independent agent representing Cincinnati.

Our loss control service is advisory only. We assume no responsibility for management or control of customer loss control activities or for implementation of recommended corrective measures. These materials were gathered from trade services and public information. We have not tried to identify all exposures. We do not warrant that this information is consistent with Cincinnati underwriting guidelines or with any federal, state or local law, regulation or ordinance. All information adapted with permission of Insurance Services Offices Inc.; Engineering and Safety.

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