What is a Safety Committee? (Overview, Roles, and Responsibilities)

  • By: Adam Wire
  • May 26, 2023
Safety Committee
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Safety Committee

A safety committee establishes various policies and procedures designed to protect the safety and health of anyone who does business with the agency.

A safety committee in an organization is responsible for promoting workplace safety and identifying potential hazards. The committee’s primary goal is establishing and maintaining a workplace safety culture. 

Many organizations use board portal software to ensure effective communication and collaboration among committee members. This software provides a secure platform for sharing information, tracking progress, and organizing meetings and documents related to the safety committee. In addition, board members can establish a committee charter to clarify the committee’s purpose, responsibilities, and authority. 

By utilizing these tools and establishing a well-defined charter, a safety committee can help reduce the risk of workplace accidents and injuries.

What is a Safety Committee?

A safety committee includes employees from different departments in the organization who are responsible for identifying potential workplace hazards, developing strategies to mitigate or eliminate them, and promoting a safety culture throughout the workplace. 

A safety committee’s specific responsibilities and structure varies depending on the organization and industry, but its aim is creating a safer work environment for employees. Most organizations allow the executive committee to form the safety committee after a successful executive board meeting.

Safety committees, sometimes overseen by the corporate governance committee, are crucial, as they provide the following benefits: 

  • Promote a safety culture by identifying potential hazards before accidents or injuries occur.
  • Identify potential hazards within the workplace through regular inspection and reviewing incident reports.
  • Develop safety policies and implement the procedures within the organization.
  • Improve communication by providing a forum for employees to discuss safety concerns and make suggestions for improving workplace safety. 

Safety committees ensure a safe and healthy workplace environment, ultimately improving the overall health and well-being of employees.

Safety Committee Responsibilities

A safety committee’s responsibilities help to maintain a safe and healthy work environment for all employees. Although the specific responsibilities differ depending on the organization, the following are the general key responsibilities of a safety committee.

1. Develop a Safe Work Environment

The safety committee conducts regular workplace safety inspections to identify potential hazards. This includes inspecting equipment, facilities, and work processes to ensure they meet safety standards.

Also, the committee performs employee safety training, like how to properly use safety equipment, emergency procedures, and best practices for avoiding workplace hazards. 

The safety committee also monitors safety performance within the organization by identifying trends and patterns in safety incidents and recommending improvements to safety policies and procedures.

2. Craft Safety and Wellness Programs

The safety committee should assess the workplace to identify potential hazards and risks through safety audits, incident reports, and employee feedback. Based on the assessment, the committee members should develop wellness initiatives and safety programs promoting employee health and well-being, such as exercise classes, mental health support services, and healthy eating programs.

Then, to ensure the safety and wellness programs are effective, the safety committee should solicit employee feedback, involve employees in developing safety policies and wellness initiatives, and encourage participation in the programs.

3. Organize and Lead Safety Training

Committee members need to identify the specific training needs based on the nature of the work and the potential hazards and risks. Once the committee has identified the training needs, they develop a comprehensive training plan. The plan should include each training session’s objectives, content, and delivery methods. 

The safety committee also selects a qualified, experienced trainer to lead the training sessions. The trainer should have the expertise to deliver the training content effectively and engage participants.

To conduct the training, the safety committee should prepare all the necessary training materials, such as handouts, visual aids, and demonstration equipment. The materials should be clear, concise, and easy to understand. 

4. Conduct Workplace Safety and Inspection Checks

Workplace safety checks identify potential hazards and risks and ensure the workplace meets safety standards. The committee members should review the relevant regulations and guidelines that apply to the workplace. This strategy will help the committee understand workplace safety requirements and identify the areas that need inspection.

The safety committee should also systematically inspect each work area during the safety check. Committee members should look for hazards such as loose wires, equipment, machinery, and tripping or sharp objects.

How to Join a Safety Committee

If you want to join a safety committee, express your interest to your supervisor or human resources department. They can provide you with information about the committee and how to join. Then, check the eligibility criteria, such as years of experience in the organization. There may be board term limits that only allow you to serve on the safety committee for a certain period of time.

Before you are approved, consider attending a safety committee meeting to understand better what the committee does and how it operates. Once you become a safety committee member, participate actively in its activities and meetings. 

As a safety committee member, you should lead by example and promote safety in your work activities. It will help create a safety culture in the organization and encourage others to do the same.

OnBoard Powers Effective Committees

Creating effective committees requires careful planning, clear guidelines, and ongoing support and monitoring. One of the keys to effective committees is ensuring they are integrated into the overall governance structure of the organization. 

OnBoard can help power effective committees by providing easy access to meeting materials, collaboration tools, secure communication, customizable workflows, and analytics and reporting tools. By using these features, everyone from the CEOs and executives to the safety committee can work more efficiently and effectively, achieving their goals and objectives more easily.

Download our free board meeting template agenda to bring structure, clarity, and efficiency to board meetings.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Are Safety Committees Required by OSHA?

    OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) doesn't require every workplace to have a safety committee. However, some states or local regulations may require certain workplaces or industries to have safety committees.

  • What Makes an Effective Safety Committee?

    An effective safety committee should have clear goals and objectives, a diverse membership, and a regular meeting schedule. The committee should also have the authority and resources to make recommendations and implement changes related to workplace safety.

  • How Do You Structure a Safety Committee?

    Consider workplace size, complexity, and goals to structure a safety committee. Members should include representatives from various areas, such as management, frontline workers, and safety professionals, for diverse perspectives.

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About The Author

Adam Wire
Adam Wire
Adam Wire is a Content Marketing Manager at OnBoard who joined the company in 2021. A Ball State University graduate, Adam worked in various content marketing roles at Angi, USA Football, and Adult & Child Health following a 12-year career in newspapers. His favorite part of the job is problem-solving and helping teammates achieve their goals. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and two dogs. He’s an avid sports fan and foodie who also enjoys lawn and yard work and running.