5 Steps to Building a Rock-Solid Manufacturing Safety Committee

Many manufacturing leaders want to hire a single safety manager to supervise their facility’s OSHA and EPA compliance. One-and-done sounds nice, until you consider the fundamental truth: safety compliance can’t be the job of a single individual. It requires buy-in and implementation across every person at your plant.

That’s where developing a rock-solid manufacturing safety committee comes in. This dedicated group can do what a single safety manager cannot—create a company-wide safety culture that invites workers and management to collaborate, assess, and adapt.

Building the right team for your manufacturing safety committee is critical. But it doesn’t need to be complicated. Keep reading as we reveal five easy steps to get you started creating your dream safety team.

What Is a Manufacturing Safety Committee?

A manufacturing safety committee is a dedicated group of people within a manufacturing organization responsible for promoting and ensuring workplace safety. Comprising individuals from various departments, the committee brings together workers and management to collaboratively identify, address, and assess safety risks.

The committee is responsible for developing and implementing safety policies and procedures, conducting regular inspections, and ultimately fostering a strong safety culture in your company. Their ultimate goal is to promote environmental health and safety (EHS) in the workplace—reducing accidents, enhancing safety awareness, and ensuring regulatory compliance.

By setting clear priorities and achievable goals, as well as modeling the value of education and training, a manufacturing safety committee truly improves the long-term success of an EHS program.

Five Steps to Forming a Manufacturing Safety Committee

Creating a manufacturing safety committee requires a top-down approach; ultimately, leadership must set the tone for safety at your company. So, start at the top and look at company safety from a global perspective before getting into the nitty-gritty details of the when, where, and how of actual meetings.

Step 1) Assess your company’s needs

Take a step back and look at your manufacturing operations from the broadest possible perspective. Ask yourself:

  • What’s the current state of affairs in regards to workplace safety?
  • What are the risks and hazards that my employees face at work?
  • What are the current safety challenges at my company?
  • Where do we need to improve?

The answers to these questions will give you—and your safety committee—a clear picture of your processes, risks, and challenges. Keep these at the forefront to ensure your committee understands what they need to focus on, especially if you’re building a safety program from scratch.

Step 2) Enlist leadership

Because safety culture starts at the top, you must enlist the right leaders to support you. Look to your upper management for support in demonstrating and developing a safety-first approach in your business. These folks will be the ones allocating resources and ensuring time is spent on training and education. Make sure they’re on board.

Depending on your organizational structure, consider appointing one of your managers as a Safety Officer to help oversee the formation of the committee. It doesn’t hurt to recruit an ally who can share the workload and aid with downstream communications.

Step 3) Identify committee members

This may be the trickiest step, so make sure you consider it carefully. Who do you actually want to serve on your safety committee? First and foremost, you need to rope in willing players: people who really care about workplace safety. They also need relevant expertise.

It’s also important to create a balanced committee. This means recruiting individuals from a variety of departments, roles, and backgrounds. Everyone brings something different to the table, so make sure you’re including front-line workers as well as supervisors. 

When you’ve compiled your list, take some time to review and make sure you’re not missing a valuable perspective. You need to create a cross-functional team, which won’t be effective if you’ve forgotten to include any operators.

Step 4) Define objectives for the committee

Now it’s time to sit down with your committee members and figure out precise objectives. Go back and revisit your answers to the questions in Step 1, and share those with your newly formed committee. 

Together, create a clear outline of the committee’s purpose, goals, and scope. Why are we here? What are we aiming to accomplish? What authority do we have?

With these things in mind, draft a Company Safety Policy Statement that reflects your commitment to a safety-first culture and identifies the team’s objectives. Make sure those objectives are aligned with your broader organizational goals, so it’s clear how the safety committee fits into the overall strategic vision.

Step 5) Establish protocols for committee meetings

The last step gets down into the nuts and bolts of actually planning and running committee meetings. How often will the committee meet? What will the format and structure of each meeting be? The best way to achieve your safety objectives is to meet at regular intervals to track progress.

Setting an agenda ahead of time as well as specific goals for each meeting will help keep everyone focused, productive, and on track. Periodically, check in on the progress the committee’s making toward your broader organizational safety goals—are you on track to meet those? 

Generally speaking, your safety committee will tackle the following tasks:

  • Draft Company Safety Policy Statement
  • Create comprehensive safety policies and procedures
  • Implement training programs
  • Operate risk assessment and mitigation
  • Establish communication and reporting protocols
  • Conduct regular assessments and audits
  • Manage employee engagement and recognition

That’s a lot to be responsible for, so be realistic and choose wisely—who in your organization is up to the job?

Create a Solid Foundation With Your Safety Committee

Our most successful clients form safety committees that meet every month with employees drawn from across the company. You, too, can dramatically improve your safety culture by building a manufacturing safety committee with these five simple steps. 

Need some guidance along the way? Reach out to book a free strategy call today, and we’ll help you get the ball rolling.