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.
- 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.
- Then Rotate those People
Be sure to open up your Committee to gain new viewpoints and experiences on an ongoing basis.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 ? Do you 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.
- Mix up your Agendas
Keep your content fresh, interesting and relevant.
- 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 !
- 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.
- 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.
Corporate OHS are UAE based Health and Safety Consultancy whose HSE Consultants offer expert resources and superior performance to give you greater results. We specialize in creating workable, user friendly HSE systems aligned to business activities and operations. Our range of health and safety consultancy services includes; risk assessments, hazard identification and control measures, HSE management system development, implementation and review including locally compliant systems such as OSHAD and/or accredited systems such as ISO 45001 ISO 14001 and ISO 9001, HSE legal compliance reviews and audit, accident investigations, crisis management, long term or project based HSE outsourcing.
In addition to project work and to aid companies in need of HSE resource but without a full time headcount; Corporate OHS also offers the option of a flexible contract and a monthly retainer, giving access to HSE services without the burden of permanent cost. For enquiries or to find out more about our services, please visit our website or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org