Can a safety committee really make a difference to the success of your safety program? We have seen great results by involving employees from all levels of a company, from hourly workers to upper management. Some companies and managers view safety as a top-down philosophy. Management makes the rules, and employees are expected to follow, but without buy-in, those rules are likely to create dissension and can lead to bigger problems.
Involving those who will be expected to follow the rules ensures that what may sound good in the executive office is actually practical and beneficial at the worksite. For example, management may react to an increase in hand injury claims by mandating that all workers wear gloves. However, workers may be able to point out in some cases where gloves will have such a negative effect on their dexterity that they can actually create bigger hazards.
Having a safety committee gives you a planned, practical way to address such issues. Instead of dictating the need for gloves, management’s representatives to the committee could make everyone aware of the increase in claims and ask them to bring ideas to the next meeting. It may be that the claims are actually the result of unsafe work practices or lack of training with specific equipment. Some workers may see gloves as beneficial, and those who don’t may be able to offer an alternate solution.
In any case, involving all the committee members in discussions like these creates solutions that are more likely to be accepted and followed than top-down policy. Just as important, involving representatives from throughout the company sends a very clear message that safety is a company-wide priority.
For help getting your safety committee started or to kick start the new year, contact Aisha Hartford at 800-462-6435 ext. 233.