In the context of fast-paced work environments, it can be easy to forget that organizational culture, management of change and anticipation and intervention of risk is established from the tone at the top. There is no getting around the fact that what matters to leaders is going to be reflected, day in and day out, in the behavior, attitudes and expectations of everyone else throughout the organization.
That's where the formation of an established safety committee can come into play. It's a chance to bring leadership together with team members from diverse areas of your organization not only to define goals, but to ensure you continue to make progress toward them. Remember the discussion on strategic intervention and feedback? Safety committees can be an amazing place to establish both top-down and bottom-up communications in one setting, as well as allow the workforce to visually and meaningfully connect with their leadership teams’ efforts, improvements, challenges and limitations in forward progress.
creating a formalized safety committee can help keep safety top of mind throughout the organization.
In its simplest form, a safety committee is a diverse group of cross-functional disciplines, workers (including those from staffing agencies) and leaders who gather around the strategic health/safety goals of the organization for continual improvement. Whatever your experience may be with safety committees in the past, in companies where continual improvement in safety performance is the expected norm, leadership teams are the ones that ensure their success.
Some sort of organization-wide communication should follow on the heels of every safety committee meeting. What are you working on? What are the short- and long-term goals? Sharing the committee's work not only increases visibility, but helps secure buy-in from team members across the company. Share the successes achieved through the collaboration between the safety committee and operations groups.
Finally, keep in mind that it's still possible to have fun — in fact, that three-letter word can be what differentiates organizations that succeed with safety from those that don't. Strive to maintain a positive tone throughout the course of your safety committee meetings, keeping in mind, too, that even short-term wins deserve to be commemorated and shared.