Does your facility hold regular meetings with all your safety officers and other lab group members to discuss the high priority safety topics? Implementing a safety committee with regularly scheduled meetings has many beneficial effects on a company’s EHS program.
In order for a safety committee to be as effective as possible, it is best to have representation from all groups, as well as members that have the authority to make company decisions. Membership should extend beyond the Biosafety Officer, Chemical Hygiene Officer, Radiation Safety Officer, and Emergency Coordinators, which promotes the opportunity for all employees to feel they are afforded a chance to provide input. Meetings can be held at any frequency, which is usually influenced by company size and depth of the EHS program. Having a set schedule will ensure that the meetings happen at the agreed upon frequency, rather than getting pushed back on everyone’s busy calendar.
The main responsibilities of a safety committee typically include developing and implementing SOPs, reviewing new hazardous materials or equipment being proposed, and reviewing incidents, accidents, and near misses that occurred since the last safety committee meeting. All members should be heavily involved in the dissemination of the information discussed at meetings. If there are members that don’t participate in the dialogue on a regular basis, they should be encouraged to bring topics to the committee and asked for input during meetings.
If your safety committee has been meeting for a long time, you can get more creative with the agenda items. Incident, accidents and near misses should always be discussed to determine how they were handled or if changes need to be made to prevent re-occurrence. Consider talking about interactive training sessions, holding a safety week, and encourage members to bring their suggestions for topics to discuss!