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On organizing a safety committee

November 18, 2010

Is your dealership as safe as it could be? A dealership safety committee is an excellent first step for protecting customers, employees, and your business. This month’s article offers some tips on organizing a dealership safety committee.

 

As of this writing, OSHA’s top dealership violations are:

 

1. Hazard communication

2. Respiratory protection

3. Personal protective equipment/general requirements

4. Wiring methods, components, and equipment for general use

5. Air contaminants

6. Portable fire extinguishers

7. Guarding floor and wall openings and holes

8. Spray finishing using flammable and combustible materials

9. Electrical/general requirements

10. Medical services and first aid

 

These and other workplace hazards can put you, your employees, and your customers at risk of injury; risk property destruction, costly legal action, or worse. Eliminating these hazards therefore should be a top priority at every dealership.

 

An effective dealership safety committee is a valuable resource through which your dealership can establish and monitor workplace safety standards and practices, encourage coordination of safety efforts among departments, and communicate important information to dealership employees

 

Begin by selecting a safety coordinator to oversee safety efforts. The safety coordinator position may be a dedicated position or, more likely, an additional responsibility assumed by a current employee.

 

Natural candidates may include your facility manager, general manager, or office manager, or a fixed operations manager. The safety coordinator acts as the committee chair, and we suggest that at least one other permanent member is a fixed operations manager.

 

Ideally, the committee should consist of representatives from every dealership department and should include both permanent and rotating members. Permanent members provide guidance for the rest of the committee and allow for continuity in establishing and monitoring dealership safety policies and practices. Rotating other committee members every six months or so lets the committee hear fresh perspectives, and it gives more employees a chance to participate in the dealership’s safety efforts. Dealership circumstances best determine how to balance your committee’s permanent and rotating members.

 

The safety committee should meet regularly (at least monthly) to identify current workplace hazards and potential solutions, discuss efforts to eliminate prior workplace hazards, report any workplace accidents and related corrective measures taken, and assess current training efforts and future training needs.

 

A pro-active safety committee will help you and your employees create a safer, more productive workplace.

 

This article is adapted from the study guide for NADA Management Education’s new training video, "An Ounce of Prevention." The 25-minute DVD and accompanying study guide are now available at www.nada.org/mecatalog or by calling 1-800-252-6232, ext. 2.

 

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