In the last module we discussed ways to get people excited about joining and being involved in the safety committee. In this module, we'll continue the theme of safety committee member professional development. Effective education and training are keys to making the safety committee a valuable profit center in your company.
Suppose you have been a member of a safety committee whose members were not properly trained. In that case, you can appreciate the benefits of effective safety committee training.
You may be a member of a safety committee right now. Did you receive any training about your role and responsibilities as a safety committee member when you joined? Chances are you didn't.
If you did, that's great. New safety committee members should be properly educated, so that they understand why their new position is so important. The purpose is to affect attitudes about the safety committee and the contribution each member can make.
Safety committees that lack effective education and training, for the most part, flounder around but rarely get much done.
It's important that safety committee members are trained, so that they understand the big picture. Each member needs to know how the safety committee fits into the company's operations plan and how it can most effectively benefit the employer by helping to improve the safety management system.Training will help each safety committee member:
For a safety committee to operate successfully, its members should be educated and trained in at least four very important topics:
New safety committee members may not have a firm understanding of the safety committee's consultative role within the safety management system. They may not realize that one of the primary purposes of safety committees is to help employers fulfill safety accountabilities. They should be trained in the following:
You now know the subjects to train safety committee members, but what type of training is best, and when is the best time to conduct the training? You have several alternatives.
To be effective, safety committee members must know basic hazard identification and control concepts and methods. We'll cover this topic briefly below. A more in-depth discussion can be found in OSHAcademy course 704 Hazard Analysis and Control.
One of the hazard identification and control duties you might have as a member of the safety committee might be conducting regular walk-around safety inspections. Safety inspections can effectively spot workplace hazards, but only if the people inspecting know what they're looking for and ask the right questions.
Sometimes, safety inspections consist of one person walking all over the place looking for hazards, not really knowing what to look for. Occasionally, the inspector might ask an employee if they have any "safety complaints," only to receive a quick "no," so the person can get back to work. You can imagine that such an inspection ends up a waste of the inspector's time and the employer's money.
Safety committee members should be trained on the ANSI/AIHA Z10:2012 Hierarchy of Controls. The hierarchy includes six basic strategies in controlling exposure to hazards in the workplace.
Controlling workplace hazards. The first three strategies reduce exposure by controlling hazards. If you can get rid of the hazard, you don't have to manage behaviors.
Controlling employee behaviors. The last three strategies reduce exposure by controlling employee behaviors with procedures and personal protective equipment (PPE).
Safety professionals know all about the Hierarchy of Controls, so be sure to get trained. You may want to take Course 122, Introduction to Hazard Controls or Course 704, Hazard Analysis and Control. You may also want to attend conferences sponsored by the American Society of Safety Professionals and others to learn more about this important topic.
In some companies, safety committees are assigned the responsibility to review and evaluate accident reports. Consequently, it's important that safety committee members understand effective accident investigation procedures and what good accident reports look like.
One effective process for conducting accident investigations includes six steps to assess, analyze, and evaluate facts to develop permanent corrective actions.
You'll find more about this topic in OSHAcademy course 702 Effective Accident Investigation.
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They say there's always a bit of truth in humor. This video is no exception. Watch this parody on Safety Meetings by the Almost Live crew.