In essence, a safety committee should be compelled to evaluate the year’s outcomes whether they were non-starters, ineffective, or extremely successful. A review of trends from incident data can help guide future actions. An understanding of the “depth of impact” of our safety culture promotion efforts is a start towards continuous improvement. Knowing what succeeded and why can help shape future efforts. It can help build a safety plan.
A high-functioning safety committee will conduct a review of the year in safety, and then build a plan for the coming year. The review should include a statement of what occurred in terms of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and potential threats.From there, a safety committee can decide what to keep in the program and what to adjust. The committee should take the activities they plan to keep and/or adjust, and add them to additional items that are brainstormed for the coming year. This then becomes the safety plan for success that will be evaluated again next year.
There is one very key aspect to the safety plan: When a safety committee figures out what the results were, and then generates a new plan in relation to those results, the safety committee begins to better understand trends and what is or is not working. If the safety committee presents the findings of the review, and the intended plans for the future to leadership, the safety committee is often viewed as functioning at a higher level. Leadership tends to provide more support for such committees.
So, take the time to evaluate your program and generate an improvement plan for the new year. It will set everyone involved on the same path with an understanding that supports continuous improvement - which is the language of true leadership!
Enjoy the season change we are about to see, and plan for a new season in your safety program!
President, ASSP – Southern Oregon Chapter
With over 20 years in occupational safety and health, Chris Lawrence is a retired US Air Force Safety Professional who is the current Regional Safety Manager for Boise Cascade.