The Safety Committee: To join or not to join? Safety and human resources employees often receive the opportunity to join a safety committee. What does joining a safety committee entail, and is it worth it?
Why Join a Safety Committee?
Are you interested in creating a safe and healthy workplace for yourself and your co-workers? A successful safety committee begins with your simple choice to care about safety in the workplace. Maintaining a safe workplace takes a network of people committed to understanding and following safety guidelines, and it can start with you. When you join a safety committee, you step into a leadership role for safety in your company.
The safety committee should be coordinated by a chairperson who has the training and knowledge to lead a group of volunteers. They can identify safety concerns and predict their severity in the workplace, designing and implementing responses. This often is not a glamorous job, but rather requires consistency, commitment, good communication, and leadership skills. Supporting your safety committee chairperson can be your reason for joining a safety committee, or perhaps you want to take the lead and become the chairperson yourself.
Ways to Support Your Chairperson
- Be consistent. Show up for meetings and events
- Walk your talk. Follow the safety guidelines your committee promotes
- Research. Develop your own ideas to contribute
- Encourage. Remind your chairperson that you care
- Ask for opportunities to share the work
The process of becoming a good safety leader or committee member will continue throughout your career. Getting comfortable making decisions and navigating change takes time, and management and your peers may not always take you seriously. However, staying the course and continuing to show engagement can help everyone get to the execution phase of the process. At this point you get the reward, the recognition, or the promotion that charges you to continue making a difference. Then, you do it all over again. Joining a safety committee starts a continuous process of development and growth in your role.
Ways to Grow
- Educate yourself. Read, watch Ted talks or videos, listen to podcasts, attend a webinar
- Get out of your comfort zone. Try something new
- Ask good questions. Thoughtful, open-ended questions lead to deeper understanding
- Track your goals. Set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound
- Learn, pay attention to your progress.
Whenever people work to create change, they will face some difficulty. Setbacks can be intimidating and frustrating, but they ultimately lead to growth for you and your organization. Prepare yourself to address setbacks as they arise, and commit to working through the issues. When joining a safety committee, you can expect setbacks such as lack of communication and lack of commitment to your committee’s mission. When that happens, continue to grow personally, leading others to participate in the mission through your example. Remind yourself of your reason for joining a safety committee: you want to create a safe and healthy workplace, even when it takes hard work.
How to Cope with Setbacks
- Stay open. Refuse to become defensive or close-minded
- Stay focused. Revisit your goals and adjust them if necessary
- Stay positive. Be encouraging. Remind yourself and your team of what is going right
- Stay engaged. Instead of slowing down or giving up, keep moving forward
Make a Difference
Safe teams make safe programs for safe working conditions. Joining a safety committee is one of the best ways for you to make a difference in your workplace. When you get the opportunity to join a safety committee at work, say yes. Get involved. Make a difference.
For more information on how to start a safety committee in your workplace, check out this article.