Checklist for Establishing Safety Committees for Higher Education Administration
In 2018, 10.9 percent of employees in the educational services industry were injured while on the job, often due to slips, trips, and falls. Employees of higher education institutions face various hazards, like slipping on ice in the parking lot, tripping over an extension cord in a classroom, getting burnt on a pan in the kitchen, or missing a step while walking down the stairs. While these common hazards could happen in any workplace, campuses have the unique factors of thousands of students, faculty, and administration following strict schedules, cell phones that can distract employees while they walk, and, in some cases, old and potentially unsafe classroom technology.
These injuries can lead to expensive workers’ compensation claims and may result in employees needing time off from work to recover. It is important for higher education administrators to take measures like establishing a safety committee to ensure employees are aware of and adhering to workplace safety procedures. When creating or optimizing a workplace safety program, consult the checklist below to ensure the program is successful:
✓ A designated health and safety officer to oversee the program and keep employees accountable. This should be someone from the executive team. Management staff who lead by example are essential to sustaining positive cultural shifts. The safety officer should clearly communicate the committee’s purpose and goals – in writing and verbally – so that employees know what to expect from the committee.
✓ Employee volunteers who genuinely want to participate. If participation in the program is required, attendees may view the safety committee as a time drain rather than a benefit. Encourage employees who are passionate about workplace safety to join the committee. When employees participate in the safety committee, they increase their abilities to identify and prevent workplace injuries.
✓ A variety of participants to provide their insight and feedback. Including representatives from various departments and facilities – administration, dining hall staff, groundskeepers, etc. – will help to inform the committee of risks the whole organization faces.
✓ Training for committee members and other employees. Providing adequate training and materials to inform your employees of workplace safety hazards will increase their day-to-day awareness of potential risks and ways to avoid accidents.
✓ Seasonal reviews of the progress of the committee. A process to routinely review the safety committee’s progress can ensure that the committee meets its safety goals and objectives and help identify areas that may need to be improved. The committee should also regularly share its progress with all employees to raise organizational awareness of the risks identified.
Preventing workplace injuries is in everyone’s best interest. A safety committee one simple step higher education institutions can instate to protect employees. In the long run, an effective safety program will ensure that students have every opportunity to receive the best education possible.
NJM Insurance Group is a leading property and casualty insurer in the Mid-Atlantic region dedicated to workplace safety and loss prevention. For more information on NJM’s business insurance products, contact your broker or call 1-800-232-6600.