Some state laws, as an aid to reducing work injuries, require safety committees. A safety committee can greatly enhance your safety program, particularly when representatives from all departments are involved.
Generally, the committee is used to identify hazards and to offer suggestions for the prevention of accidents and injuries.
The function of an accident review committee is to review those accidents that have been initially determined (usually by the safety director) as preventable or non-preventable, and the affected driver disagrees with that determination.
The purpose of such a committee is to ensure the fair and equitable determination of preventability; to serve as a training tool for all drivers; to discover methods for the prevention of further accidents; and last, but not least, to foster driver participation in the safety efforts of your company. The process can occur as follows:
- A company official (e.g., Safety Director) makes the initial determination of preventability.The driver should then be notified of the decision. Form 9-1, “Accident Preventability Notification”, may be used for this purpose.
- The driver should then file a response, indicating whether he/she agrees or disagrees with the initial determination of preventability.Refer to Form 9-2, “Driver Response”.
- If the driver disagrees with the initial determination, the accident review committee would then review the accident.
- If further appeals are granted, other (outside) sources could be used to further review the initial determination.
To start the committee, qualify at least 8-10 drivers and 3-4 shop or office employees, so that at least 3-5 committee members may be present at any given meeting. It is recommended that at least two drivers and one shop or office employee (a total of at least three members) be present in order to hold a meeting, although having at least five members present would be suggested. The committee can be started as follows
- Select committee members using eligibility requirements similar to those below:
- ALL MEMBERS:
- Completed a defensive driving course.
- Completed a course in determining accident preventability.
- A total of three years of experience, however, not necessarily with the current employer.
- No preventable accidents in the preceding 12 months.
- No serious traffic violations in the preceding 12 months.
- ALL MEMBERS:
- Send the Accident Preventability Notification form to the driver involved and instruct the driver that the Driver Response form must be submitted, indicating whether he/she agrees or disagrees with the initial determination.
- Any Driver Response forms received, which indicate that the driver disagrees with the initial determination, should then be held (along with the complete accident file) for a complete review by the accident review committee.
Keep in mind that committee decisions are typically based on a system in which majority rules. While there is no standard procedure for such meetings, it is generally agreed that one committee member reads the contents of the file to the other members. This person will guide any discussion, keeping the discussion to the topic. The Safety Director, or company official who made the initial preventability determination, should be present to answer questions and offer reasons for his/her decision.
The following is a thought to consider when discussing preventability on the part of the driver: Defensive drivers are those who commit no driving errors themselves; who make allowances to compensate for unusual weather, road, and traffic conditions; who make allowances for the lack of skill or improper driving of others; who are not tricked into an accident by the unsafe action of a pedestrian or other driver. By being alert to causal factors, the driver recognizes the need for preventive action in advance and then takes the necessary precautions to prevent the occurrence. As defensive drivers, they know when it is necessary to slow down, stop, or yield their right-of-way to avoid involvement.
Tip: Involve as many drivers as you can. Serving on the committee is an excellent way for drivers to learn more about accident prevention and defensive driving.