Safety committees are a common way to get employees involved in the safety process. Often, safety committees are put together to assist with inspections and audits, review incidents and injuries, solicit suggestions to reduce injuries and illnesses, and/or to conduct behavior observations. But, is the committee achieving its fullest potential? Although this question is difficult to answer, I suspect that the answer is no in many cases or there are at least some ways in which the safety committee can improve.
Safety committees that are hap-hazardly formed ultimately have sustainability problems. There are both assets and liabilities associated with forming committees, groups, or other work teams. The assets include greater knowledge and experience, more approaches to problem-solving, and better implementation of the safety program. Potential liabilities with forming safety committees include individual domination, conflicting alternative solutions, premature decisions, and prior commitments of members. In many cases, little consideration is given to group and team dynamics when forming and implementing a safety committee. If you are designing a safety committee and/ or needing to revive the safety committee at your work site, consider the following 10 success factors for effective safety committees.