Health and Safey Committees

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Many Teamster local unions have found that the most effective way to identify and control hazards is to establish a health and safety committee.  Health and Safety committees keep day-to-day watch on worksite conditions, identifying and solving problems before they become serious.

There are two types of health and safety committees:

Union health and safety committees consist entirely of local union members, stewards, and staff.  Just as local unions need committees for contract enforcement, political action, and other activities, many have found that it pays to have a group of people who develop experience in handling health and safety matters.

It is important to establish a separate union health and safety committee which functions independently of the company.  Any local union may set up such a committee without contract language.  However, the capabilities of this committee can be strengthened by negotiating worksite access or paid time for health and safety stewards or committee members.

Joint labor-management health and safety committees consist of both union and management representatives.  Joint committees provide local unions with a structure to discuss health and safety concerns with the employer.  In many cases, union health and safety committee members may also serve on the joint labor-management health and safety committee.

Joint committees provide local unions with a structure to resolve differences about health and safety concerns in an orderly fashion.  The rights, responsibilities, and structure of the joint committee should be spelled out clearly in the contract in order to produce a focused and effective group.

UNION HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMITTEES:

The union health and safety committee should include people who have contact with members in each work area on each shift.  To operate effectively, the committee needs a formal structure with regular meetings, minute taking, and a system to inform union members of the status of committee projects.

Union health and safety committees can perform many duties, some of which are listed below:

JOINT LABOR-MANAGEMENT HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMITTEES:

Joint labor-management health and safety committees are a forum where union and management representatives meet as equals to discuss health and safety problems.  They can perform many of the union committee functions: workplace inspections, accident investigation, records review, chemical and equipment monitoring, etc.

To ensure that these committees function effectively, they should be structured as follows:

Figure 3 lists some of the do’s and don’ts for labor-management health and safety committees.

Figure 1

 

SAMPLE JOINT LABOR-MANAGEMENT
HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMITTEE
MEETING AND AGENDA

            TO:                  Joint Labor-Management Health and Safety Committee Members

FROM:            Committee Co-Chairs

RE:                  Joint Committee Meeting

DATE:              November 11, 200-

The Joint Labor-Management Health and Safety Committee will meet on December 1, 200-, located in Building 1-A Conference Room, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  The agenda is as follows:

AGENDA

  1. Review monthly workplace survey results
  2. Old Business
  1. New Business

If you have any questions or wish to add agenda items, please submit them to either co-chair by November 24, 200-.

 

Figure 2

 

SAMPLE MINUTES FORM FOR

HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMITTEE MEETING

 

Employer                                                                                              Department

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Date                                                                                                       Shift

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Members in attendance

______________________________________________________________________________________

Old business

______________________________________________________________________________________

Corrective actions and dates completed

______________________________________________________________________________________

New business

______________________________________________________________________________________

Suggested actions and proposed dates for correction

______________________________________________________________________________________

Other business (e.g., OSHA inspections, job injury reports, educational activities, etc.)

______________________________________________________________________________________

Union representative                                                           Employer representative

Source:  A Worker’s Guide to Documenting Health and Safety Problems, Labor Occupational Health Program

Figure 3

LABOR-MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE DO’S AND DON’TS

DO

DON’T