Get the Most from your Safety Committee

Yesterday’s Advisor explored steps you can take to ensure your employees take safety training seriously. Today we look at elements of a strong safety culture—including safety committees—and an audio conference that will help you get the most out of yours.

OSHA has proclaimed that developing a strong safety culture has “the single greatest impact on accident reduction of any process.”

All well and good, you say, but what, exactly, is a safety culture?

OSHA says that safety cultures “consist of shared beliefs, practices, and attitudes that exist at an establishment. Culture is the atmosphere created by those beliefs, attitudes, etc., which shape our behavior.”

An organization’s safety culture derives from a number of factors, which, OSHA says, might include:
–Management and employee norms, assumptions, and beliefs
–Management and employee attitudes
–Values, myths, and stories
–Policies and procedures
–Supervisor priorities, responsibilities, and accountability
–Production and bottom line pressures vs. quality issues
–Actions or lack of action to correct unsafe behaviors
–Employee training and motivation
–Employee involvement or “buy-in”

Don’t miss BLR’s September 18 special audio conference on how to form or improve a safety committee. Your satisfaction is assured. Can’t attend? Pre-order the CD. Get the details.

In a strong safety culture, says OSHA, “Everyone feels responsible for safety and pursues it on a daily basis; employees go beyond ‘the call of duty’ to identify unsafe conditions and behaviors, and intervene to correct them.”

For example, in a strong safety culture any worker would feel comfortable approaching anyone else with the reminder to wear safety glasses—even if that person was the plant manager or CEO. Such behavior would not be seen as forward or over-zealous, and would be rewarded. Similarly, co-workers would routinely look out for one another and point out unsafe behaviors to each other.

A company with a strong safety culture typically experiences few at-risk behaviors, resulting in lower accident rates, lower turnover, lower absenteeism, and higher productivity, according to OSHA. Such companies usually are extremely successful and excel in all aspects of business.

But a strong safety culture doesn’t develop overnight. A company just starting down the road toward developing a safety culture might exhibit a certain level of safety awareness, such as displaying safety posters and warning signs. As more time and commitment are devoted, OSHA says, a company will begin to address physical hazards and may develop safety recognition programs, and start incentive programs.

And, at the core of any strong safety culture is a strong safety committee. If you want your safety committee to make a real difference in your workplace, you must be prepared to invest a good deal of energy and time designing and developing it. If you don’t, your efforts will be wasted.

Announcing BLR’s special September 18 audio conference on safety committees. Don’t form (or run) a committee without it! Satisfaction assured! Can’t attend? Preorder the CD. Get more information.

But where to start? We invite you to join us on September 18 for a comprehensive audio conference that will explain everything you need to know about getting an effective safety committee off the ground—or, just as important, breathing new life into one you’ve already got running.

You’ll learn:

–Why every workplace can benefit from an effective safety committee
–How to decide who should be on your safety committee
–How to make your safety committee fit, as well as shape, your safety culture
–Real-life examples of how safety committees benefit a company’s overall safety program
–Tips to keep your safety committee fresh and functional
–Where to start if you’re developing a safety committee for the first time
–Why a good safety committee can improve your bottom line

Our speaker will be Gary Gagliardi, the corporate safety director for Midwest Mole, Inc., the nation’s leading innovator in trenchless technology, located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Gagliardi has more than 15 years of experience in the safety field, retiring from the Air Force after twenty years in civil engineering.

Along with being an authorized OSHA General Industry outreach instructor, Gagliardi has numerous OSHA and NFPA certifications, and has certification as a Slip and Fall Prevention Specialist. He has previously worked with companies nationwide in developing safety programs and safe work practices.

The audio conference is titled, Safety Committees: How to Develop, Implement, and Maintain an Effective Program That Works For You, Not Against You. It was first given in January, to rave reviews, and may be one of the best presentations on the subject around. Be sure not to miss it. Go here for more information, to register, or to preorder the CD.

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