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Four steps to ensure your HSE committee holds effective meetings

by , 15 August 2013
Your health and safety committee needs to operate effectively so that it can fulfill its legal responsibilities. Use this four-step approach to ensure your health and safety committee holds effective meetings that'll help reduce health and safety risks in your workplace.

Your health and safety committee won't achieve its objectives if it holds ineffective meetings because that's where important health and safety decisions must be taken, says the Health&Safety Advisor.

Follow these four steps to make sure your meetings are effective

Step #1: What to do before the meeting

  • Plan the meeting.
  • Ask people attending the meeting what items they want on the agenda.
  • Draw up an agenda of regular items and items that other participants want on the agenda.
  • Make sure the agenda has a starting time and a finishing time.
  • Make sure everyone who will attend the meeting gets a copy of the agenda and any supporting documents at least a week before the meeting.

Step #2: On the day of the meeting

  • Follow up with the venue to see if the meeting is still available and that it's clean and tidy.
  • Check that the room is properly set up with chairs and tables placed to ensure participants can see and hear each other.
  • Make sure the lights and air-conditioning are working in the room where you'll hold the meeting to ensure there's enough light and ventilation.

Step #3: During the meeting

  • Always start the meeting on time.
  • Go through the safety procedures. For example: What to do in an emergency, evacuation procedures and hazards in the room.
  • Make sure someone in your committee takes minutes.
  • Ensure everyone knows the rules of the meeting, for instance, how you reach decisions, waiting for the chairperson to acknowledge you before you speak, not interrupting others while they speak.
  • Follow the agenda. Don't get sidetracked on topics not on the agenda.
  • Make sure everyone has the opportunity to participate. Don't let one or two people dominate the meeting.
  • Keep order by not allowing more than one person speak at a time
  • At the close of the meeting briefly recap the main points discussed, what everyone needs to do, who will do it, set the date for the next meeting and finish the meeting on time.

Step #4: After the meeting

  • Send out minutes as soon as possible and no later than a week after the meeting.
  • Follow-up with the people who were given tasks at the meeting to make sure they carry out these tasks before the next meeting.

Following these steps will help ensure you hold effective meetings that'll help you reduce health and safety risks in your workplace.

Get the 10 items to include on the health and safety committee meeting agenda in chapter H19 of your Health and Safety Advisor.

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