You don't have to climb a mountain and sit on a big rock for six days to visualize the safety committee's role. However, it will take more thought to develop the safety committee to meet the expected behaviors and outcomes necessary to fulfill its role.
First, let's look at the concept of "role" and how it applies to the safety committee. Look up the definition, and you'll find something like:
As you can see, a role defines who we are, how we should behave personally, and what we should do as individuals or groups.
I'm sure the position you hold in your company has some sort of formal title that helps you and others identify your role and associated duties. Along with that role, come assigned responsibilities and status. Every role you play has a set of expected behaviors and activities considered appropriate for that role.
Take a look at the following list of common roles we play. The odds are you play one or more of these roles.
Of course, there are many more roles we can play, but you get the idea. Each role is unique with its own set of performance expectations.
Read the material in each section to find the correct answers to each of the questions. After answering all questions, click the "Check Quiz Answers" button to see your score and a list of missed questions. To correct a question, return to the question, review the material, change your answer, and return to the last section page. Click the "Check Quiz Answers" again to recheck the results.
Do not refresh these pages or you'll have to answer all questions again.
Note: Videos and exercises in our courses are for information only and not required to view. Final exam questions will not be derived from the videos. OSHAcademy is not responsible for video content.
To help the safety committee function better, each safety committee member must understand this basic principle:
What we do depends on who we think we are.
To better understand and convey the role of your safety committee as an internal consultant team providing expert advice and assistance, think about creating a "vision statement." The vision statement describes who you are. A good vision statement will help you determine what to do and make it more likely that you'll realize that vision.
Sample Vision Statement: "The safety committee helps management lead in creating a world-class safety culture through educating employees and consulting with management."
Click on the button to see what a committee with an appropriate vision is more likely to do to achieve its purposes.
Safety committees that perform as internal consultants will:
A final word about vision: You may be wondering why some safety committees fail. Well, I'm sure you're familiar with the saying, "Where there is no vision, the people will perish." (Proverbs 29:18) The same principle applies to safety committees.
As a safety committee member, you perform multiple roles. Let's see how this affects your responsibilities:
Some companies inappropriately assign safety enforcement responsibilities to the safety committee. However, writing "tickets" for violating safety rules can be especially disastrous to the committee's effectiveness: Don't do it. Enforcing safety is legally a line management responsibility, not a staff responsibility.
Suppose you are a member of your company safety team and a supervisor. How do you discipline your employees for unsafe behavior? Let's look at a scenario below to set the scene.
Larry is a member of the company's safety committee as well as a supervisor. He notices one of his subordinates is not wearing the required personal protective equipment (PPE) during his workday. Larry wants to correct the unsafe behavior; however, he is unsure how to proceed.
Since Larry is a line supervisor, should he discipline the workers or should he actually refrain from discipline because he is a safety committee member?
How would you respond in the above situation? The response depends on the role you are playing when you discover the unsafe behavior. For instance:
To prevent role conflict like this, you might ask someone else to conduct the inspection in your department.
Armed with insight into the safety committee's role, let's take a look at what the committee's purpose and function might be. We'll start by looking at the purpose of the safety committee. A quick review of our friendly dictionary once again defines "purpose" as "a desired or intended result or effect."
For safety committees to successfully fulfill their role, they need to understand their purpose and achieve intended outcomes. If the safety committee does not understand it's purpose, it may actually produce unintended outcomes.
Safety committees are created and developed to fulfill the following purposes:
These purpose statements emphasize the safety committee's responsibility to help the employer manage safety and not do it for the employer. This important idea is why we encourage safety committees to think of themselves as internal consultant groups, but not as safety "cop squads."
A safety committee should write a mission statement that explains what they do to support their vision. The safety committee's purpose might be viewed as its mission and describes the activities above to support its assigned role.
Sample Mission Statement: "The safety committee’s mission is to promote a safe and healthful working environment for all employees by assisting management in minimizing the frequency of accidents and identifying corrective measures to control recognized hazards."
Earlier, we mentioned that the safety committee’s "purpose" is why it exists and what it intends to achieve. How effectively the safety committee functions to achieve its purpose depends on how well each safety committee member performs.
The safety committee may have the best intentions in fulfilling its purpose, but what happens if the committee suffers from poor vision, leadership, and management? What if meetings are infrequent and boring, members think of themselves as cops, and no one wants to volunteer for membership? The committee may actually function so poorly that it harms rather than helps a safety program. Good intentions do not always produce the results you want.
The safety committee cannot function effectively without each member having a clear vision, strong leadership, and sound management practices. Members must have adequate knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) to function successfully.
For instance, the safety committee may intend to increase interest in safety by implementing a safety incentive program, but if its members do not have the KSAs to accomplish this task, they may unintentionally develop a totally reactive incentive program that’s a dismal failure.
Listen to Bryan explain one of the ways to deliver engaging service. Understanding the "purpose" of your job duties (functions) is a powerful way to deliver service in an engaging way.