Setting Up a Joint Labor / Management Safety and Health Committee
Currently there are many different safety and health committees being developed. There are several ways to implement a safety and health program. When developing a safety and health program numerous elements must be considered prior to the design of that program. Review the following and evaluate if your committee has the foundation for success. The IAMAW Safety and Health Department can help you get on the right track. If you need assistance or training contact the Safety and Health Department at (301) 967-4704 or see IAM C.R.E.S.T. on this site.
Operations vary in:
Some other considerations necessary for an effective safety and health committee prior to implementation:
In order to have a successful joint labor / management committee we must first start with a joint commitment. Some examples of joint commitments are:
Key Elements of a Joint and Safety and Health Committee
Every joint labor / management committee has key elements and components within them. The key elements for a joint labor / management committee are:
First Key Element – Organizational Structure
One of the most important elements of a safety and health program is its organizational structure. These are some suggestions to put your organizational structure together and this structure may contain other components, but the basics are:
Second Key Element – Communications
All parties involved with the safety and health process must work cooperatively to be successful in the various tasks involved. Communication is key to a successful safety and health program. Some examples of communication that are essential are between committee members and workers, management and union, engineering, maintenance, medical operations, safety and health and many other involved in the day-to-day implementation of safety and health issues. Committee minutes should be posted and made available for employee review. The minutes are an intricate part of the safety committee meeting and communications. They are used as a tool to track action items and their closure dates.
Third Key Element – Training
The needs for training are many and should be varied to accomplish those needs. Employees should all understand the basic safety and health principles. Safety and health committee members from all departments should have basic knowledge in many different areas. Training is mandatory in accomplishing your goals.
The Fourth Key Element – Labor / Management Safety and Health Committee
Look at Joint Labor / Management Safety and Health Committees (task forces, teams, etc.), as a mechanism for unions and management to successfully implement a safety and health program. Joint safety and health committees can be structured and learn to work well by considering the following issues.
Committee Structure refers to how the committee will be put together. Considerations include:
Committee functions vary widely from organization to organization and within organizations. Typical functions might include:
Committee process issues relate to how the committee will operate internally. Some of these issues are:
Fifth Key Element – Organizational And Process Techniques
Like any committee, they will function more efficiently and smoothly by adopting some organizational and process techniques :
(1) Each meeting should have a Chair to get the business done; a Recorder to make sure discussion and decisions are retained and available for use by the committee; and a Facilitator to monitor and correct, if necessary how the committee members work together.
(2) Process techniques such as an agreed upon overall problem-solving approach, use of charting of information, use of brainstorming to generate solutions to problems, use of consensus decision-making, and the setting of time lines and assignment of individual accountability when decisions to act are made.
Sixth Key Element – An Example of a Problem Solving Process
There are many different process structures used to address safety and health related complaints, injuries or illnesses. The reason there are so many is because places of business differ and so will their problem addressing structure.
The following is an example of one structure that will address, investigate and try to determine the causes of complaints, injuries or illnesses.
1. A complaint, injury or illness may start this process.
2. All parties pertaining to a joint safety and health committee are contacted and told of said complaint.
3. A joint investigation is conducted:
a) You will first want to interview the employee who was injured or initiated the complaint;
b) Try to establish if the employee knows how they were injured. Obtain a full description of what has happened up to the current date;
c) Ask employee if they might have any recommendations or solutions to this problem;
d) Be sure to interview co-workers and / or the department supervisor who may have knowledge of what occurred.
4. Take complaint to the safety and health committee for further investigation and identification of the problem.
a) Present to Committee all reports, findings and interviews;
b) Provide Committee with access to all records, surveys, job analysis and any other data pertaining to the complaint, injury or illness and thoroughly review all material;
c) Identify the problem.
5. After the problem is identified, the committee should try to determine the reason for this problem, if any.
6. The Joint Committee should determine corrective actions that are possible and select one. Remember to get workers’ input on any changes that may be made to their jobs.
7. The investigators of this problem should review everything with the employee and their respective management.
8. Implementation of corrective action should take place.
9. The key is to follow-up after any change has been made and to monitor the progress with the employee and management of that department. Also, you need to keep the rest of the Committee aware of all changes.
Safety and Health Program Standards
Key components of a safety and health program are identified in these documents are;