If you were to evaluate any given commercial customer’s insurance program, you’d take a look at a few things. What are the coverages? Where are the gaps in coverage? And of course, you’d want to know what the total price is. And in dissecting the price, you’d find that the workers compensation premium is anywhere to a third to half of the total premium! That’s a big chunk.
In many states, there are laws that permit insurance companies and clients to lower the premium if they meet certain guidelines. Almost always, the most popular guideline is the safety committee. The safety committee is designed to compel the client to hold regular (often times monthly) meetings where the topics are all on the safety of the workforce.
Of course, there are guidelines to running a safety committee. If you want the credit from the insurance company and the state you’re operating in, you’ll want to apply for recognition of a “certified” safety committee. Once accepted, you’ll need to follow some strict but not unattainable rules. As the owner, you’ll need to appoint members, and a leader to hold the committee accountable (and our recommendation is that it shouldn’t be you, the owner). You’ll need to have meeting minutes kept every time, and there should be action items that come out of each meeting for the committee members to work on with their crews.
Safety committees aren’t always the answer. If you’re a small enough company, it may cost more to run the meetings that what savings you’ll realize on your workers compensation premium. Do the math on what it would take to run a great safety committee – you’d be surprised at what the costs can be sometimes.
So to get back to our question, “are safety committees required?” the answer is: it depends (if you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you’ll know this is a popular answer of ours). From a state & local government perspective, the answer is no. From your employees perspective, the answer may be yes. You’ll be the ultimate decision maker on what effects a safety committee can have on your organization. And chance are if you’re a believer, your employees will be as well.