Do you need a Safety Committee?

WAC 296-800-130

Safety committees/safety meetings—Summary.

This rule requires you to have a method of communicating and evaluating safety and health issues brought up by you or your employees in your workplace. Larger employers must establish a safety committee. Smaller employers have the choice of either establishing a safety committee or holding safety meetings with a management representative present.
There is a difference between a safety committee and a safety meeting.
• A safety committee is an organizational structure where members represent a group. This gives everyone a voice but keeps the meeting size to an effective number of participants.
• A safety meeting includes all employees and a management person is there to ensure that issues are addressed. Typically, the safety committee is an effective safety management tool for a larger employer and safety meetings are more effective for a smaller employer.

WAC 296-800-13020

If you employ 11 or more employees on the same shift at the same location, you must establish a safety committee.

You must then establish and conduct safety committee meetings.

  • • Make sure your committee:
    • Has employee-elected and employer-selected members.
    • The number of employee-elected members must equal or exceed the number of employer-selected members.
      Note: Employees selected by the employees bargaining representative or union qualify as employee-elected.
    • The term of employee-elected members must be a maximum of one year. (There is no limit to the number of terms a representative can serve.)
    • If there is an employee-elected member vacancy, a new member must be elected prior to the next scheduled meeting.
      – Has an elected chairperson.
      – Determines how often, when, and where, the safety committee will meet.

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