Opinion: The Need for Safety and Health Committees at the Workplace

By James Oloo | Friday Nov 17, 2017

Employers have a duty to provide and maintain a safe and healthy workplace. To help employers improve the work environment they can have a safety and health management system. This system explains to people within the organization do to prevent injuries and illnesses at that workplace.

Depending on how their carry out their business, hazards at the work place and the management of safety and health of people at the organization, makes every organization have its own unique system. The success of safety programs is hinged on discipline and this spills over to production and quality control. This leads to more safety awareness on how they conduct their jobs.

Safety and health are very important in the overall success of an organization hence should be taken as importantly as other things that are considered to be paramount to the success of the business. Employees need to be actively involved in this program for it to succeed because it is their health and safety that is being safeguarded. Employees are hence very key to the success of this program.

 It is the responsibility of the employer to make decisions about safety and health in an organization, but they can involve employees actively involved by forming committee’s through which they can give opinions about health and safety making them feels part of the safety and health program. 

In Kenya, the Occupational Safety and health (OSH) Act of 2007 requires every employer to establish a safety and health committee at the workplace if there are twenty or more persons regularly employed at that workplace. The size of this committee depends on the number of workers employed at the place of work. The Safety and Health Committee Rules of 2004, a subsidiary legislation under OSHA directs all employers who are required to form safety and health committees to appoint a committee made up of an equal number of members from management and workers based on the total number of employees in the company.

Drawing members from the different sections and hierarchy of the company as they represent other employees is important so as to have a balanced representation. An approved training by the Directorate of Occupational Safety and Health Services under the Labour Ministry is a requirement that all committee members should undergo.

The committee on workplace safety and health should come up with an inspection schedule for the work place, the inspections should be carried out at least once in three months which is a requirement by the OSH Act and also identifying occupational hazards and cases of ill health and develop written recommendations and take necessary steps to promote a safe and health working environment.

Source: Business Daily 

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