Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Making a Safety Committee Work for You

How to run an effective safety committee ...

"Recognizing the value of safety committees is a step many companies are taking to inject safety awareness into their company culture. The trick is to know how to make one run effectively.

Obtaining results is important when reinforcing the value of a safety committee to company employees, says Kielly MacKenzie, safety representative program personnel development coordinator at Boise Cascade's St. Helens, Ore., facility. This is why he encourages other workers to follow his safety committee's footsteps by allowing them to see the active steps the committee has made in improving safety.

Airborne sawdust was a problem before Boise Cascade's safety committee was implemented in October 2005. "The company would take a recordable incident of airborne sawdust exposure at least once every 2 years," MacKenzie says.

Once the safety committee started to secure its role as a safety watchdog and train its representatives in hazard identification, one of the committee's safety representatives started to look for the root cause of the airborne sawdust problem. After talking to employees who worked with the woodchips where the sawdust originated, the safety representative discovered the sawdust became airborne as the woodchips were transferred from one belt to another. The problem was corrected immediately.

"We use this example when talking to other employees in the mill and say this just one of the ways our program can be of help," he says."    (Continued via Occupational Hazards)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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