Guidance, information, and suggested procedures for operating
safety and health committees at DOE operations are addressed
in this Chapter. It also addresses Federal Safety and Health
Field or establishment-level safety and health committees
effectively assist management with improving policy, working
conditions, and practices. Committees can facilitate management
and employee participation and program "buy-in."
Committee members, who establish goals, objectives, purpose,
and membership expectations, should develop the charter. The
charter should be revisited annually, before new members are
The membership ratio should have equal numbers of management
representatives and employees. Members are full voting associates.
Management representatives should be appointed in writing
by the facility manager. They should represent a cross-section
of managerial positions and have labor or operational functions.
Safety and health manager(s) should be excluded.
Employee and management representatives should be equal in
the membership. If employees are represented by a union, the
bargaining representative should recommend the membership.
If employees are not represented by a bargaining unit, membership
should be determined by other methods that will provide effective
Employee input should be solicited on how to select members,
or members may be appointed. An election should not be held
because it may violate the National Labor Relations Act.
Employee membership may be rotated through the organization.
Each major organizational unit should be represented. Using
volunteers is another approach that may work well, depending
on program maturity.
Membership terms are normally 2-year terms. However, when
the committee is first formed, certain memberships should
be designated as 1-year terms to ensure membership stability
when 2-year terms rotate.
A chairperson may be elected by the membership and/or rotated
between management and employee representatives. Another option
is senior management (e.g., manager, deputy manager) may chair
the committee, providing visible top management program support.
Technical advisors (nonvoting) or committee consultants should
be safety and health professionals. Meeting notification should
be made to members, advisors, and general staff. Interested
individuals should be encouraged to attend. Committee meetings
are conducted in an open forum.
Meeting minutes document committee proceedings. They should
be reviewed and concurred on membership and signed by the
committee chairperson. Approved minutes should be made available
to the employees by posting or general distribution. Minutes
should include a list of members present, previous minutes
approval, guest speakers, old business, new business, and
An action log should be appended to the minutes to track
assignment of responsibilities for corrective actions, progress
made, issues, and final closure.
Committee activities notification to DOL is not required.
However, organizations may want to report their activities
in the annual report to DOE.
Responsibilities may vary broadly based on committee functions
as defined in the charter. At a minimum, the following elements
are normally included. Information
The organization should ensure that the committee receives
sufficient information relating to safety and health program
issues to permit them to effectively function. Technical advisors
can play a major role in ensuring that the committee is kept
Information provided should be commensurate with the committee's
duties. Information should include the following:
Reports include internal and external inspections or program
evaluation reports, accident/incident investigation reports,
injury/illness reports, and injury/illness summaries.
Employee Concerns include complaint(s) relating to workplace
hazards, as well as program concerns or allegations of reprisal
for participating in the program.
Requirements include draft or revised safety and health statutes,
regulations, or policies.
Members should be provided training to familiarize them with
the basic program requirements. One way to accomplish this
is to have the technical advisor(s) present one element of
the program as an agenda item at each meeting.
If the committee members take an active role in the programs,
such as participating in inspections, investigations, or program
evaluation, then additional training will be required in hazard
recognition, accident investigation, document review, interview
techniques, and report writing.
Training curriculum should be tailored to their need to know.
Overview classes are probably more realistic than detailed
professional course curriculum.
Committee duties are generally the responsibility of the
voting membership, and safety and health professionals normally
serve only as technical advisors. This helps ensure maximum
ownership and participation by manager and employee representatives.
Committee duties should be determined by local policy and
the membership. These duties should be documented in a charter.
Generic suggestions are offered.
- Participate in internal supervisor or safety and health
inspections at the work site(s).
- Participate in program evaluations conducted by external
- Track corrective actions to ensure appropriateness and
- Monitor program effectiveness and make improvement recommendations.
- Review and recommend revisions for existing or developing
additional organizational policy.
- Recommend changing the level of effort in terms of program
- employees' concerns, complaints, allegations of reprisal,
and suggestions and recommend changes to the program as
- reported accidents, incidents, and injury/illnesses trends.
Emphasize reducing the frequency and severity of injuries
- unsafe condition trends that may lead to severe injury
or illness. Root cause identification is key to long-term
abatement of problems.
- changes to senior management on program policy, management
commitment in terms of resources, and employee involvement
- in safety and health awareness programs.
Advisors will normally consist of safety or health professionals
and may include others on an as-required basis (e.g., health
physicists, industrial hygienists, ergonomists, or engineering
Advisors are available to provide required technical advice
or training to committee members. Advisors should not serve
as committee voting members.
An example of the DOE Headquarters FEOSH Steering Committee
charter may be found at: http://www.hss.doe.gov/sesa/corporatesafety/feosh/FEOSHCharter.pdf
Information on safety committees may also be found on the
DOL OSHA Federal Agency Program web site at: http://www.osha.gov/dep/fap/index.html
View the DOE FEOSH Program information pamphlet
David M. Smith, Manager
Federal Employee Occupational Safety and Health
U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Health, Safety and Security
1000 Independence Ave S.W.
Washington D.C. 20585
||Federal Employee Occupational Safety and Health (FEOSH) Program |
U.S. Department of Energy,
Office of Health, Safety and Security (HSS)
1000 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20585-1290
FEOSH Program Manager: Carlos Coffman, HS-23, (301)903-6493 or Carlos Coffman