Characteristics of effective health and safety committees: Survey results

Authors

  • Tim Morse PhD, CPE,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Community Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Health Center, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut
    • Department of Community Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Health Center, University of Connecticut Health Center, MC 6210, Dowling North, Farmington, CT 06030-6210.
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  • Anne Bracker MPH, CIH,

    1. Occupational and Environmental Health Center, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut
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    • At time of study.

  • Nicholas Warren ScD, MAT,

    1. Occupational and Environmental Health Center, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut
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  • Jeanette Goyzueta MPH,

    1. Ethel Donaghue Center for Translating Research Into Practice, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut
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  • Matthew Cook MPH

    1. Ethel Donaghue Center for Translating Research Into Practice, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut
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  • Disclosure Statement: The authors report no conflicts of interests.

Abstract

Background

Although perhaps the most common worker-management structure, there has been surprisingly little research on describing and evaluating the characteristics of health and safety committees.

Methods

A survey of 380 health and safety committee members from 176 manufacturing workplaces was supplemented with administrative data and compared with reported workers' compensation rates. Survey respondents also reported perceptions of overall safety, committee, effectiveness, committee activities, and “best practices.”

Results

Extensive descriptive data is presented, including a mean of 8.7 members per committee spending 1,167 hr per year on committee business for an estimate of $40,500 worth of time per committee. Higher speed to correct action items, a focus on ergonomics, and planning for safety training was associated with lower injury rates. The discrepancy between managers and hourly committee members in estimating overall safety was strongly positively associated with injury rates.

Conclusions

Communications and worker involvement may be important to address discrepancy issues. Prospective studies are needed to distinguish directionality of associations. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:163–179, 2013. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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