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Health and Safety Topic – Tips for Effective Health and Safety Committees

Blog 89 committees

Many view health and safety as a “dry” topic, full of rules, regulations and procedures. These attitudes can create challenges for the Health and Safety Manager in creating effective Health and Safety Committees. The below outline some of Corporate OHS, an HSE Consultancy’s, ideas on how to run effective meetings. We hope these tips will help you create real engagement with your colleagues and in turn, ensure a safer, healthier work environment.

Health and safety committees play a crucial role in promoting and maintaining safe working environments. These committees serve as a forum for collaboration between management and employees to identify, assess, and mitigate workplace hazards. In this article, we will explore the key components of effective health and safety committees and their importance in ensuring workplace well-being.

Purpose and Objectives

The primary purpose of a health and safety committee is to promote a culture of safety within the workplace. This involves:

  • Identifying potential hazards and risks.
  • Developing and implementing safety policies and safe operating procedures.
  • Conducting regular inspections and safety compliance audits.
  • Investigating accidents and incidents.
  • Providing safety training and education to employees.
  • Establishing clear objectives helps the committee stay focused and aligned with the organization’s safety goals.


Composition and Representation:

Effective health and safety committees should be composed of representatives from both management and employees. This ensures that diverse perspectives are considered when making decisions regarding workplace safety. Representatives should be knowledgeable about their respective areas of responsibility and willing to actively participate in committee activities.

In addition to management and employee representatives, it may be beneficial to include other stakeholders such as safety professionals, union representatives (if applicable), and relevant subject matter experts.

Communication and Collaboration:

Open and transparent communication is essential for the success of health and safety committees. Members should feel comfortable expressing their concerns and ideas without fear of retribution. Regular meetings should be scheduled to discuss safety issues, progress on action items, and upcoming initiatives.


Collaboration between management and employees is key to identifying and addressing workplace hazards effectively. By working together, the committee can develop practical solutions that prioritize both safety and productivity.


Risk Assessment and Hazard Control:

Risk assessment is a systematic process for identifying, evaluating, and prioritizing workplace hazards. Health and safety committees should conduct regular inspections and assessments to identify potential risks and implement appropriate control measures.


Control measures may include engineering controls (e.g., machine guarding), administrative controls (e.g., work procedures), and personal protective equipment (PPE). The committee should also monitor the effectiveness of control measures and make adjustments as needed.


Training and Education:

Providing adequate training and education is essential for ensuring that employees understand their roles and responsibilities regarding workplace safety. Health and safety committees should develop and implement training programs that address specific hazards and risks present in the workplace.


Training should be tailored to the needs of different employee groups and should cover topics such as hazard recognition, emergency procedures, and the proper use of PPE. Regular refresher training should also be provided to reinforce key concepts and ensure ongoing compliance.


Incident Investigation and Reporting:

Accidents and incidents should be thoroughly investigated to determine their root causes and prevent recurrence. Health and safety committees should establish procedures for reporting and investigating incidents in a timely manner.


During the investigation process, the committee should gather relevant information, interview witnesses, and analyze contributing factors. Based on their findings, recommendations for corrective actions should be developed and implemented to prevent similar incidents in the future.


Evaluation and Continuous Improvement:

Regular evaluation of the health and safety program is essential for identifying areas for improvement and ensuring ongoing compliance with regulations and best practices. Health and safety committees should conduct periodic reviews of their activities and performance metrics to assess their effectiveness.


Feedback from employees should also be solicited to identify any concerns or suggestions for improvement. By continuously striving for excellence, health and safety committees can help create safer and healthier workplaces for all employees.

  1. Include the Right People

An effective Health and Safety Committee should be a representation of the company and include a mix of stakeholders from different departments. Further including what you know to be a mix of viewpoints can reveal different ideas and opinions to help you anticipate potential resistance. Though it may sound a little counter intuitive, it’s important not to be too active. Instead, look to serve as a facilitator enabling Committee members to feel free to speak up. Some companies will choose not to have higher management attend the meetings due to the potential of Committee members being afraid to express their health and safety concerns with them in the room. Others chose to include them as they feel it’s vital that the people who are in charge of budgets, final decisions and can effect change, know what is really going on in the company.

  1. Then Rotate those People

Be sure to open up your Committee to gain new viewpoints and experiences on an ongoing basis.


  1. Define How Often the Health and Safety Committee Should Meet

Committees should regularly bring staff together to communicate and promote workplace safety. Once a month is the generally agreed recommended timing for a Health and Safety Committee.

  1. Create Commitment from your Members

Does everyone on your Committee:

  • Understand their role ?
  • Understand the importance of what they’re doing ?
  • Feel empowered to make recommendations for improvements ?

Challenge yourself on this.

  1. Plan Meetings Ahead of Time

Develop meeting agendas a few days in advance and distribute them so Committee members can prepare. As the Health and Safety Manager your duties as regards the Committee would include keeping the group focused and ensuring the Committee is acting properly; following ground rules and listening to all members.

  1. What will your Health and Safety Committee Meetings Do ?

Determine the goals and objectives of each Health and Safety Committee meeting. Do you want to review recent work-related injuries and illnesses ? Does your company have concerns over a specific department/area ? Do you want the committee to perform workplace inspections ? Committees can serve as a great cross-functional team for getting various safety-related tasks completed in the different areas of your workplace. Whatever you decide, be sure to document and track your short-term and long-term goals.

  1. Mix up your Agendas

Keep your content fresh, interesting and relevant.

  1. Other Ideas to put on the Agenda

Endeavour to get in touch with other industries and see what they’re doing outside of your field. For example, if you’re in construction, speak to a hospital and see what their Health and Safety Committee is doing. Try looking at different mindsets and approaches and decide if they would be helpful to incorporate into your work.

Conduct an audit. Imagine yourself in the shoes of an external Auditor, how would your company fare ?

Walk the job. Get the Committee to walk the jobsite and note safer, more efficient ways to get the job done, what can they come up with ?

You could also use your Committee as an audience to test your own safety training materials. Or, as a group, brainstorm ways you might deliver information—for example, how would a combination of classroom training and an online course look ? You could even try making fun safety videos with your Committee members !


  1. Don’t Overtask your Committee Members

Ensure that you don’t overtask your Committee members or they will become disinclined to attend and engage fully.  During the meetings experiment with different dashboards and ways to communicate  information, perhaps in a pictorial fashion, so that everyone can understand and assimilate the information in seconds. Ensure that meetings don’t overrun and keep to time.


  1. Don’t Aim Too High Initially

When creating a Health and Safety Committee, begin the process with immediate and long-term goals, but do be careful about aiming too high initially. If you have your goals established and documented then track progress throughout the year; you need to see progression. For example, if your goal is to implement a new incident investigation process, be sure to document the completion of each step. If you assign a specific task to someone, follow up with them and offer assistance if they need it. Remember, you are steering the Committee, but you are also in the position of a coach and mentor when it comes to safe working practices and ensuring everyone meets minimum requirements.

Lastly…… Communicate! Topics and discussions covered at each meeting should be documented and put into some form of “Meeting Minutes” document, then published so that the company can see. The meeting Minutes should be posted on an employee bulletin board, sent out via email, or communicated in whatever method you see fit. Allow employees the opportunity to meet with the Committee and discuss what they are doing. Employees who are aware that their company has an active Health and Safety Committee and are “in the loop” of what’s going on tend to feel better about how the company tackles safety as a whole.


Effective health and safety committees are indispensable assets in safeguarding the well-being of employees and maintaining a culture of safety within the workplace. By fulfilling their purpose and objectives, these committees serve as vital platforms for identifying, assessing, and mitigating workplace hazards. Their composition, comprising representatives from both management and employees, fosters collaboration and ensures diverse perspectives are considered in decision-making processes.

Open communication and collaboration are the cornerstones of successful health and safety committees, enabling the identification and resolution of safety concerns efficiently. Through regular risk assessments and hazard controls, these committees proactively address potential risks, implementing measures to protect employees and mitigate hazards effectively.

Training and education initiatives ensure that employees are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to identify hazards and respond appropriately, contributing to a safer work environment. Moreover, incident investigation and reporting procedures facilitate learning from past incidents, enabling the implementation of preventive measures to avoid future occurrences.

Continuous evaluation and improvement are essential aspects of effective health and safety committees, allowing for ongoing refinement of safety practices and procedures. By soliciting feedback from employees and stakeholders, these committees can identify areas for enhancement and implement necessary adjustments to enhance workplace safety continually.

In essence, effective health and safety committees play a pivotal role in fostering a culture of safety, where employees feel empowered to prioritize their well-being. By adhering to the principles of collaboration, communication, and continuous improvement, these committees contribute to the creation of safer, healthier workplaces, ultimately enhancing employee morale, productivity, and overall organizational success. As stewards of workplace safety, health and safety committees are instrumental in ensuring that every employee returns home safely at the end of each workday.


Corporate OHS – Health and Safety

If you are looking for support with occupational health and safety in the UAE and help from expert Safety Consultants. Corporate OHS is a Health and Safety Consultancy services provider whose HSE Consultants offer expert resources and superior performance to give you greater results.

We specialize in creating workable, user friendly solutions aligned to your business activities, operations and budget.

Our range of health and safety consultancy services includes;

  • Health and Safety Risk Assessments
  • Hazard identification and control measure implementation
  • Gap Analysis
  • Audits and safety compliance audits
  • HSE management system development, implementation and review including locally compliant systems such as OSHAD or OSHJ and/or accredited systems such as ISO 45001, ISO 14001,
    ISO 9001 and ISO 50001
  • HSE legal compliance reviews and assistance
  • Accident investigations
  • Business continuity and crisis management
  • Long term or project based HSE outsourcing
  • Flexible monthly support retainers giving access to HSE service without the burden of a permanent cost

To find out more about our services, please visit our website or send an email to, or call 00 971 4 550 7862.

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