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Importance and Formation of Recycling Safety Committees, Part 1

At Leadpoint, we’re proud to be a top recycling company consultant for vital areas including staffing and recruiting, safety training, operations and more. Not only will we ensure your projects are properly staffed with qualified employees, we can implement our high-performance workteam model using the Leadpoint 5/90, our five-step process over 90 days to get your MRF working at a higher level of efficiency.

One area of implementation we look to highlight to many of our clients: The formation and maintenance of a safety committee. A safety committee within your waste and recycling business is vital for everything from teamwork and basic safety to employee engagement and feelings of value. This two-part blog will dig into the basics of a safety committee, also sometimes called a safety team, their purposes and benefits, and some simple steps to establishing and maintaining a useful, quality safety committee in your workspace.
importance recycling safety committees

Safety Committee Purposes and Functions

As the name suggests, a safety committee is in place to bring both workers and management together to promote safe, healthy work environments. Many companies choose to include members of several different departments in their safety committees, allowing for input from any important part of the operation.

Depending on the specific needs of the company, the safety committee may have several distinct functions. These can include:

  • Recommending safety or operations changes
  • Analyzing and providing solutions for safety or operations problems
  • Inspecting safety equipment such as fire extinguishers and spill kits
  • Detecting and noting hazards throughout the facility
  • Investigating and analyzing any accidents or major safety trends
  • Reviewing new materials or chemicals
  • Maintaining safety data sheets
  • Reporting safety findings to management, including recommendations for changes
  • Playing major roles in evacuations or other emergency response situations

Direct Benefits of Safety Committees

Safety committees benefit several areas of your business, including the following:

  • Increased employee safety awareness, meaning fewer accidents or incidents
  • Clear emphasis from management on employee well-being, a major positive for recruiting and employee retention as well as company morale and teamwork
  • Reduction of injuries and their resulting costs, including workers’ compensation
  • Reduction of OSHA citation or penalties due to improper safety areas

Establishing Safety Committee Basics

If you’re forming a new safety committee, here are a few tips for setting the foundation:

  • Ensure management is fully committed to both the theme of the committee and the time it will take to properly implement it.
  • Establish primary objectives for the committee, plus methods of communication for these objectives and progress between the committee, management and employees.
  • Set reasonable, clear expectations and goals.
  • Develop a system that ensures correction actions are made when proper procedures are not followed.

Recruiting Safety Committee Members

Consider these tips for the recruiting safety committee members.

  • Size: How many members should be on your safety committee? The goal here is keeping the number relatively limited while also ensuring each relevant department is represented. Companies with under 200 employees should limit the committee to 10 or fewer members, while those with over 1,000 employees may consider multiple committees.
  • Volunteers: Begin by assessing volunteers, people who are most likely to be invested in the committee.
  • All levels: Include committee members from all level of the organization – management, supervisors, employees and members of the facilities or HR team.

In part two of this blog, we’ll offer some more tips on establishing your committee. To learn more about the value of safety committees in the recycling industry, or for information on any of our MRF safety training or operations services, speak to the staff at Leadpoint today.

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