A Safety Committee, or as it is sometimes referred to a "Joint
Health and Safety Committee", is a group of employer and employee
representatives who work together to identify and recommend
solutions to health and safety problems in the workplace.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires a minimum of
two members, one of whom must represent the workers. There is
no mandatory maximum. The number will vary from workplace to
Whether or not your company comes under the jurisdiction of
the Occupational Health and Safety Act, having a Safety Committee
in place is an important part of your safety program. Having
a safety committee will also reinforce to your employees your
company's commitment to health and safety.
It is important that there be a record of Safety Committee meetings.
The minutes need not be complex, however, it is necessary to
- date and time of meeting
- names of those present
- issues discussed
- person/group responsible for action
In some instances it may be useful to attach pertinent documents
to the minutes (e.g. audit reports, management responses, accident
statistics). Minutes should be posted on appropriate bulletin
boards so that all employees have access to the information.
Sample of minutes layout follows.
Objectives of a Health and Safety Committee
What are some objectives we should consider for a health and
safety committee? To put it another way - what are some of the
duties of a safety committee?
The study of injury and disease statistics and trends so
that reports can be made to management on unsafe and unhealthy
conditions and practices, together with recommended corrective
Examination of safety and health audits on a similar basis
as indicated in first objective.
Consideration of reports provided by government and insurance
Consideration of reports by safety representatives.
Assist management in the development of job site safety rules.
Review the effectiveness of health and safety training of
Review and assist in communication and promotion of health
and safety matters in the workplace.
Carry out periodic safety and health audits to determine
the effectiveness of programming.
In making recommendations, there are two important issues to
be decided: first, on what does the committee make recommendations
and second, how is a recommendation made?
Recommendation on What?
Generally speaking, concerns which do require a committee recommendation
- those for which there is no established corrective procedure
- where a request for corrective action brings no result
- where the problem involves a number of different departments
and requires a change in
Making a Recommendation
- a mezzanine floor with no perimeter rail, not previously
thought of as hazardous
- excessive welding fumes tolerated in the past, but now
being complained about
- recurrence of a housekeeping defect. The real problem
could be lack of proper storage facilities, poor methods of
performing the job concerned, etc.
- a problem which relates to lack of information or training
Recommendations which relate to well defined problems and which
are logical, supported by facts, and practical, are the ones
most likely to be accepted by the employer.
To achieve this, committees should follow a logical procedure
in developing recommendations. For example:
1. Define the problem.
This often means looking for underlying
causes of the situation. Unless the real problem is identified,
it is difficult to come up with solutions. For example, simply
defining the problem as "careless work habits" is not enough.
Ask, "Are work procedures properly defined and communicated?
Is the proper safety equipment readily available? Is there adequate
training and information for the workers' concerned?"
2. Assemble all necessary information.
information should be collected and then considered before coming
up with solutions. Such information might include:
- description of the job and workplace
- details about any previous accidents and investigations
relating to this problem
- comments and suggestions from supervisors and workers
- equipment maintenance schedules and manufacturers' specifications
3. Consider possible solutions.
Solutions must relate
directly to the problem identified. Provide options for different
solutions if possible. In considering solutions, the committee
should take into account:
- the urgency and potential seriousness of the problem
- the range of possible solutions - sometimes the corrective
action being proposed may be urgent, but there may be practical
or cost difficulties in getting these implemented immediately;
in such a case, the committee may wish to recommend interim
- the practicality of the solution being recommended
4. Reach agreement.
This may sometimes be more difficult
than it sounds. However, it is easier to reach a unanimous agreement
when the information gathering has been done using a step by
5. Present the recommendation.
The nature and the reasoning
behind the recommendation should be clearly set out. Those who
have to consider it will then have the benefit of the committee's
deliberations. The recommendation should include:
- the subject of the recommendation
- the date made
- the recommended time frame for action
- the recommendation, including any options
- the reasoning behind the recommendation
- time frame for response
The recommendation should be sent to the person in the company
who has the necessary authority to take action.
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in
NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in
NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder.