Another meeting has just been completed, you've thanked everyone for coming, and they're returning to their work. You kick back and "decompress." OK, back to the real world. It's time to get the paperwork done.
Following up on assignments and action items after the meeting may be the most important part of the whole process.
It's important not to wait to complete the meeting minutes. The longer you wait to finalize the meeting minutes, the less able you'll be to accurately put down on paper what happened, who was assigned tasks, and associated time frames.
While your memory is fresh, be sure to review and edit the minutes with the help of the committee recorder (two brains are better then one!). Here are some tips to consider:
Make necessary corrections in the layout, content, grammar, and spelling in the minutes.
Be sure to clearly indicate those members who have been assigned responsibilities in the minutes.
Once you are happy with the quality of the minutes, be sure they are distributed to all members of the safety committee. Better yet, include supervisors and managers in your distribution. It's important that they all know what the safety committee is doing. Sharing information helps increase understanding and that's good for everyone. Here are some other suggested ideas to help spread the word effectively:
Post the minutes on a bulletin board in the lunch room or other busy area in the facility. Don't be afraid to "brag" about the safety committee's accomplishments. Let people know how the safety committee has improved the bottom line through effective safety and health. The safety committee can save lives as well as thousands of dollars.
To increase readership and interest, some safety committees reformat the minutes to look like a newsletter or poster. Another great idea is to develop a program that rewards employees who read the minutes and can answer questions. Remember, recognize everyone that meets your criteria to increase the number possible "winners."
The safety committee meeting may be your organization's primary forum for discussing safety and health issues. It's important to evaluate the meeting process to make sure its efficient and effective. The meeting is efficient if the process is conducted in a consistent and timely manner. The meeting should not be a waste of time. The meeting is effective if it achieves desired results. If the meeting isn't efficient and effective, the activity may actually be counter-productive in improving your organization's safety management system.
To make sure the meeting is both efficient and effective, it's important to evaluate the process and results. There are a number of ways to do that:
Survey safety committee members and others. Ask co-workers searching questions. Get their ideas, feelings, opinions, and beliefs about the meeting. Survey non-members to determine how well the information from meetings is being communicated throughout the workplace.
Interview individual members and co-workers. Sometimes you can learn valuable information that would never be captured on a survey. Ask them how you might be able to improve the safety committee meeting process and outputs.
When you decide some part of the safety meeting needs to be improved, it's important use a systematic process to make sure the change is effective. We encourage the use of the Shewhart/Deming Plan-Do-Study-Act process. Let's take a brief look at this process:
Step 1: Plan - Design the change or test. Take time to thoroughly plan the proposed change before it is implemented. Pinpoint specific conditions, behaviors, and /or results you expect to see as a result of the change. For instance, you may want to include a short 10 minute training session in each meeting. You'll need to carefully plan who will conduct the training, what format will be used, and what subjects will be presented.
Step 2: Do - Carry out the change or test. Implement the change or test it on a small scale. This will help limit the number of variables and potential damage if unexpected outcomes occur. Educate, train, and communicate the change to help everyone successfully transition. Keep the change small to better measure variables.
Step 3: Study - Examine the effects or results of the change or test. To determine what was learned and what went right or wrong. Statistical process analysis, surveys, questionnaires, and interviews will all help in this step.
Step 4: Act - Adopt, abandon, or repeat the cycle . Incorporate what works into the meeting process. Ask not only if we're doing the right things, but ask if we're doing things right. If the result was not as intended, abandon the change or begin the cycle again with the new knowledge gained.
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