ave a wide range of people--and food options--at your next safety meeting

Hospital Safety Insider, June 9, 2011

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How do you run a successful safety committee meeting?

"It might seem silly, but one of the things you can do to get people to show up is to have good food," says Paul Penn, CEO of EnMagine, Inc., a Diamond Springs, CA, consulting company that specializes in emergency, environmental, and health and safety management.

When he worked as manager of environmental health and services at a California medical center, Penn says he contacted local food vendors and told them what his budget allowed him to spend. Offer quality and diversity, he advises, which provides an alternative to the rubber chicken some hospital cafeterias are famous for. "And what makes a dynamic safety committee? The same things: quality and diversity," he says.

You want a good cross section of people, says Ray W. Moughalian, BS, CHFRM, principal of Saf-T-Man in Methuen, MA. You want to include a representative from all of the EC disciplines, such as security, hazardous materials, and emergency management.

Penn says the medical center where he worked was big on creating a labor-management partnership. Including a labor representative on your committee allows you to get input from the people on the front line who are doing the actual work, he says. If you identify unsafe conditions, your workers can ensure that steps to make your facility safer are incorporated into day-to-day operations. On the other hand, it's also important to have someone from the executive level involved with the committee, he says. That person can be a champion for you when the doors are closed in the C-suite and decisions are being made. Without demonstrable, long-term executive support, the safety program won't be successful, he adds.

Read more of this article and others in Briefings on Hospital Safety.

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