1. Your workplace cannot get workers to volunteer to sit on your health and safety committee.
Possible reasons: Workers may be afraid to appear to criticize management or they don’t see any benefits in sitting on a health and safety committee.
Solutions: Promote the safety committee and its successes. Have the safety committee conduct short departmental safety talks. Conduct recruitment sessions in the lunch room or hold recognition events for members.
2. Your committee cannot motivate manager members to attend meetings regularly.
Possible reasons: Managers may see safety committee meetings as a waste of time. They may also have a poor attitude toward safety or not know what’s expected of them, especially if they lack occupational safety/health training.
Solutions: Assign manager members specific safety tasks. Recommend basic occupational safety/health training for managers and have the committee as a whole take team-building training.
3. Your committee has poor visibility among workers and supervisors.
Possible reasons: People may not even know who sits on their committee. The committee may also not publicize its successes and members conducting inspections may not interact with workers and supervisors.
Solutions: As part of new employee orientations, talk to them about the roles and functions of the safety and health committee. Introduce new workers to committee members for their areas. Rotate committee members frequently. Have the committee hold safety events to increase worker/supervisor awareness.
4. Your health and safety committee’s work is mostly reactive, in response to injuries or incidents, rather than proactive. The committee lacks goals and objectives.
Possible reasons: Committee members may lack a clear understanding of their roles, functions or expectations of committee members. They may also lack sufficient safety and health training, may not understand how to set goals and objective and may lack passion for safety.
Solutions: Have the company’s safety department meet with the group to discuss health and safety goals and objectives. Collect information through informal surveys of workers and supervisors. Spend one entire meeting agreeing on goals for the year and establishing an action plan. Determine priority areas, set target dates for action, measure performance against objectives and report progress.
5. Meetings go on for hours, but little is achieved.
Possible reasons: Chairperson does not keep meeting focused (may lack experience in running effective meetings), agenda is not properly planned in advance of meeting, there’s a lack of information on the table and a lack of problem-solving skills.
Solutions: Bring in experts to show chairpersons how to run effective meetings. Have co-chairs hold pre-meetings to plan and review agenda items, including decisions and action points for each agenda item. Don’t waste time on discussion when more information is needed before making a decision.
6. A couple of members always do all the talking at meetings, leaving others resentful, frustrated or bored.
Possible reasons: Some people like to be in control or love the sound of their own voices.
Solutions: Have members who wish to speak raise their hands and speak one at a time. Evaluate the results of each meeting.
7. No one in your organization really knows what the health and safety committee is supposed to be doing.
Possible reasons: Members lack training on the roles and functions of the health and safety committee, there are no formal terms of reference or your terms of reference aren’t comprehensive enough. Also, your committee may have too low a profile in the workplace.
Solutions: Assign a sponsor to your committee, preferably someone with sufficient authority who is fairly closely linked to senior management. Have this person help your committee clarify roles and provide resources.
8. Most of the discussion is about complaints, not solutions. Committee members don’t know how to draft proper recommendations and they don’t call in experts for help.
Possible reasons: The chairperson is not facilitating proper discussion or members lack sufficient training in problem solving.
Solutions: Train members in problem solving, have co-chairs meet in advance, plan, set goals and establish priorities. End each item of discussion with an action item.
9. Your committee members have only basic occupational safety and health training.
Possible reason: Everyday jobs may not revolve around safety/health issues.
Solutions: Assess current knowledge, experiences and expertise of each member regarding health and safety training. Conduct a needs assessment and bring in an experienced trainer to help your group. Consider joint training for the whole committee to facilitate a common vision.
10. Meetings are boring, with agendas having the same items on them month after month.
Possible reasons: Little or no planning, members aren’t engaged, committee isn’t integrated with OSH system, workers/supervisors don’t raise safety/health issues to committee members.
Solutions: Engage all members in teamwork, making them responsible for occupational safety and health action plans, developing and monitoring annual health and safety activities/goals and in enhancing employee safety awareness.
JHSC Certification Training Parts 1 and 2 will give the members the competence to effectively run and participate in a committee and the results of this is accident prevention. Contact us for our next set of course dates!