The value of a workplace safety committee is often debated between those leaders tasked with operational assignments and those tasked with safety performance. The arguments against utilizing safety committees usually include comments related to operational inefficiencies (waste of time, slows production, etc.) or committee ineffectiveness (doesn’t accomplish anything, nothing changes, etc.). However, when a safety committee is properly established and utilized, the financial and cultural benefits to a company far outweigh any actual or perceived negative consequences. Most companies which effectively utilize safety committees will argue that said safety committee is a vital component of the overall success of the organization.
What’s In It For My Company?
There are many advantages to establishing and utilizing a safety committee, including but not limited to:
- Potential reduction in Workers’ Compensation premiums (varies by state).
- Pursue and secure high-value contracts with more lucrative customers.
- Reduction in out-of-pocket expenses due to injury and illness reduction.
- Reduction in out-of-pocket expenses due to property damage reduction.
- Participation by front-line workers in identifying risks to the company.
- Reduction in your overall injury and illness rate (OSHA Recordable).
- Validation of senior leadership’s commitment to a safe workplace.
- Increased awareness and appreciation for the company’s safety culture; and
- Invaluable feedback to senior leadership to aid in decision-making.
While from a federal regulatory standpoint safety committees are not required for most companies, several states do require the use of safety committees if you participate in the state Workers’ Compensation Program. However, since such requirements vary from state to state, please verify any such requirement via the agency which manages your state’s Workers’ Compensation Program.
In addition, if your company holds certain state or federal contracts you may have a regulatory requirement to establish a safety committee. You may also be required to establish a safety committee if you participate in any of the most recognizable national or international safety certification programs such as the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program, the American Chemistry Council’s Responsible Care Program, or ISO 45001. You may also have a contractual obligation to establish a safety committee by certain customers, particularly those in highly-regulated industries such as chemical or nuclear processing, oil and gas refining, hazardous materials manufacturing, and furtherance of intermodal transportation.
All that said, the ultimate decision to establish and utilize a safety committee is first and foremost a function of senior leadership, who must be fully onboard from the outset in order to successfully develop a safety committee, grow a safety culture, and successfully reduce accidents.
Be on the lookout for future articles, where we’ll drill down into the details, including: how to establish a safety committee, selection of committee members, how to conduct a safety committee meeting, and utilization of safety committee recommendations. In the meantime if you have questions about safety committees or other safety-related topics, please contact your respective Cline Wood Risk Consultant or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kenny Ray, Cline Wood Risk Consultant
This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.