Over a 30-year career working with all different types of companies — large, small, progressive, conservative, and most industry groups — I have seen firsthand the benefits an organization can enjoy as a result of supporting and fostering an active safety committee.
For the most part I have seen and been part of several very successful committees, but I’ve also seen many failed attempts. In almost every case, failure had more to do with a lack of management’s commitment and the inability to develop a clear purpose and vision.
Generally, committees should meet on a regular basis (monthly or quarterly). They should spend time developing and enhancing safety policies and procedures, identifying job hazards and creating solutions, engaging in accident investigation and development, and communicating the safety message.
Who benefits from a highly engaged safety committee…
The business owner:
With an effective safety committee, an employer increases its likelihood of…
- Decreasing employee accidents and loss costs, which will significantly impact the cost of Worker’s Compensation insurance.
- Medical/ lost wage costs — along with accident frequency — directly drive a company’s annual experience modification premium factor, resulting in premium impact.
In addition to obvious premium impact, informed employers understand the hidden costs related to accidents. With a strong committee in place participants will also become an incredibly powerful advocates for safe practices to coworkers and that can be far more powerful than always hearing the safety message from management.
For the committee members:
Employee committee participation builds an increased awareness of the company’s viewpoint and commitment to the safety of its employees. Employee representatives will develop more engagement with the company by having a meaningful voice. The employee members will also broaden their knowledge and understanding of the operational impact workplace accidents and how to identify a hazards and develop solutions. It’s amazing to see how well employees respond to involvement with a committee. In addition to the ability for them to provide valuable insight to job hazards and solutions, they become more engaged as an employee.
For the employees:
If all goes as planned, the employee will enjoy a much safer work environment with a company that cares for the wellbeing of all of its people. Having the opportunity to serve on safety committees employees feel more connected to the company by having a voice.
These employees will go on to become terrific advocates at the floor level being vital in enhancing and expanding your organizations safety culture. It is recommended that employees rotate through the committee in an effort to engage a broader selection of employees.
In Conclusion- Everyone wins!
When a company is able to reduce WC costs, along with avoiding the loss of productivity and disruption caused by losing key team members to injuries, the company will be more financially stable. Allowing the company to be in a better position to compete in the marketplace and have the ability to fund other initiatives and employee benefits. With a well-functioning safety committee in place, all aspects of the organization will benefit.
If your company needs help developing its safety culture, please reach out to a qualified insurance agent and or your insurance carrier for assistance. Everyone wins with a strong safety culture!