Health and Safety
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Getting the most from your health and safety committee

By Jennifer Miller

Recruitment, diversity, motivation, effectiveness and retention: these are the cornerstones that an efficient health and safety committee is built on. Getting the most from your health and safety committee is beneficial to everyone.

Effective health and safety committees benefit:

  • The organization: When the health and safety committee runs smoothly, so do all of the health and safety mechanisms and controls that the committee looks after. That means a safer and healthier workplace for everyone, from the CEO to workers and everyone in between.
  • The staff: Having an effective committee in place helps workers feel that they have a voice when it comes to workplace health and safety. As well, it gives workers an outlet for exercising their right to participate.
  • The committee: Nothing boosts confidence and motivation like knowing you’re doing a great job. A committee that knows they are a valued asset to the company will be more effective and perform duties willingly and efficiently.

In order to glean all of the benefits that come along with an effective committee, it is important that HR professionals understand how to get the most out of the health and safety committee.


To get the most from your health and safety committee, ensure that you choose the best team. Build a team on passion. When forming the committee, seek out members with an interest in learning more about health and safety. Be sure that committee hopefuls understand the time commitment involved and that all time spent on committee duties is paid and occurs during regular working hours. For those with a strong desire to learn more, committee membership is a great way to get additional training and experience. Recruiting the right team is one way to ensure that the health and safety committee can perform at maximum efficiency.


Diversifying the safety committee can increase the benefits your organization enjoys and help the company get the most from the committee. Age, race, gender and culture are generally associated with the term diversity. However, diversity is not just what is seen at the surface. Diversity can also mean differences in opinions, skills, knowledge and abilities, as well as differences in ethics, beliefs and values.


Keep the safety committee motivated to do a good job by offering regular coaching, opportunities for specialized training and by recognizing the committee for a job well done. Recognition may come in the form of a simple thank you or a more official acknowledgement during meetings. In addition to appreciation, praise and development opportunities, participating in regular team-building activities may also increase a safety committee’s motivation and effectiveness. The different ways of keeping the committee motivated are limited only by imagination. Try surprising them with donuts during the next meeting, paying for attendance at a seminar or setting up contests for prizes for identifying hazards or placing cost-effective controls. Keeping the committee motivated is one of the best ways to ensure maximum effectiveness.

Recruiting the right team is one way to ensure that the health and safety committee can perform at maximum efficiency.


When the best and most diverse members of a health and safety committee have been recruited and are operating as a highly motivated unit, an organization should make an effort to retain them. The organization stands to lose if the team it worked so hard to put together dissolves within a few months. Motivation and retention go hand-in-hand, and a highly motivated safety committee will be more easily retained than one that is not engaged. Consider developing a retention strategy. As well, ensure that the committee has the tools they need for success. Allow them time to meet, use of an appropriate space and proper support. With these in place, the safety committee will continue to work together in order to meet the organization’s overall safety goals.


To get the most out of the health and safety committee, the best and most diverse members must be recruited, motivated and retained. However, none of those elements will matter under weak leadership. Above all else, to get the most from the safety committee, they must be given support from the top down, by a management team that walks the walk. When top management buys in to safety culture, so too will the rest of the workforce, making the job of the safety committee easy and fulfilling. Safety is easier to manage when everyone embodies its spirit and intention. Get the most out of the safety committee by speaking with actions instead of words when recommendations are made or when important ideas for safety improvements are brought forth. Lead by example.

The health and safety committee plays an important part in an organization’s overall success. It is essential and beneficial for businesses to get the most from the committee so that all parties can enjoy the mutual benefit of an effective, efficient, motivated safety team.

Jennifer Miller is the curriculum development coordinator for Occupational Safety Group in London, Ont. 

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