Having a safety committee for your operation isn't required, but it's a good idea.°Plus, you may be able to negotiate better worker compensation rates and insurance premiums if you have one.

Some key benefits are: increased worker awareness, ownership of the program, commitment to safety and reduced accident and injury rates, according to the National Pork Board.

Some of the safety committee's duties include:

  • Identify workplace hazards or unsafe practices; recommend corrective action.
  • Address safety suggestions and concerns from the workforce and management.
  • Investigate and review accidents, property damage, near misses and incidence reports.
  • Generate employee awareness and interest in safety as well as their commitment to the task.
  • Do periodic inspections of work sites, equipment, facilities, working conditions and job procedures.

Once organized, it's best if the safety committee meets monthly. It's important for the members to:

  • Make thorough and accur-ate decisions and recommen-dations to management.
  • Stay focused on safety and health issues; avoid conduc-ting "gripe" sessions.
  • Practice effective meeting management, and keep meetings short. For the meetings, the committee should:
  • Have an agenda, and stick to it.
  • Start and end on time.
  • Make sure all members participate.
  • Periodically evaluate committee effectiveness.
  • Hear reports, make decisions and give assignments.
  • Maintain order, and treat everyone respectfully.