BlueLionAdmin/ July 28, 2020/ Blog

Many of us might remember the days of designated safety captains and committees in school. Those of us on these teams were in charge of helping keep our classmates aware of safety procedures, practicing those procedures during things like fire drills, and bringing attention to safety hazards. 

The professional world has its own safety committees, too! And if you’re a small business owner in the Granite State, there’s a good chance you need to comply with New Hampshire’s labor laws specifically pertaining to safety programs and committees.

The New Hampshire Department of Labor states that all employers with 15 or more employees need to:

  • Create a written safety program
  • File a Safety Summary Form with the Department of Labor
  • Form a Joint Loss Management Committee (JLMC), also known as a Safety Committee

If you don’t comply with any of the above requirements, your company could be subject to a fine of $250 for each day of noncompliance. That could be a major hit to your budget and bottom line, something many small businesses cannot afford. It’s simply not worth the risk!

Keep reading for more on these three steps and what your business needs to do to stay compliant with New Hampshire safety requirements.

Create a Written Safety Program

The goal of the written safety program is to show the employer’s dedication to creating a safe work environment for all employees and to communicate the company’s policies, practices, and rules. This document should also be used to encourage employees to work safely and report unsafe conditions.

According to the New Hampshire government, the written safety guide should include: 

  • An introductory statement noting the overall goal of the safety program to all employees and the importance of their participation
  • Management’s statement of commitment to safety and health
  • Responsibilities of management and all employees regarding safety and health
  • Description of any JLMC or Safety Committees
  • NH safety statutes, rules, and regulations
  • Disciplinary policies and measures for dealing with employees who violate safety rules and regulations
  • Procedure for accident and incident reporting and investigation
  • Safety and health training requirements for all employees based on their jobs/roles
  • Emergency evacuation and response plans
  • Guidance on safety and health communication
  • Measures and training on recognizing the signs and reducing the risk of workplace violence

New Hampshire employers are required to provide the current written safety program to all employees for review. Make sure you provide the latest version to all current employees. New team members should receive the guide as part of their new employee orientation.

Download the Department of Labor’s guide for developing a written safety program.

File a Safety Summary Form

Once your business has created a written safety program, you need to file a Safety Summary Form with the New Hampshire Department of Labor. Employers need to file this every other year by January 1st. 

The form summarizes your safety guide and demonstrates compliance with NH regulations. It asks employers to list basic information, including:

  • Members of the Safety Committee
  • Potential safety and health hazards identified by the Committee
  • Established emergency response procedures
  • Individuals responsible for safety training and corrective actions
  • A summary of the safety disciplinary policy
  • Their process for ensuring adequate resources and communication are dedicated to safety and health policies

Download the NH Safety Summary Form and find instructions on how to submit yours.

Form a Safety Committee

A joint loss management committee, more often referred to as a Safety Committee, is also required for any NH business with 15 or more employees. 

The main goal of the committee is to prevent workplace illnesses and injuries and to investigate safety incidents or accidents to prevent them from happening again.

How Many Members Should Be on the Committee?

There should be an equal number of employer and employee representatives on your JLMC. Employers with 20 or fewer employees must have at least two members on the committee; companies with more than 20 employees must have at least 4 members.

The employee representatives must be selected by employees. In the case of union workers, the union will select the employee representatives.

What If My Business Has Multiple Locations?

You must form a Safety Committee at each of your primary places of employment at a major economic unit at a single geographic location composed of a building or group of buildings and all surrounding facilities.

The primary location(s) need to have both employer and employee representatives present, control of a portion of a budget, and the ability to take action on the majority of safety recommendations made by the committee.

What Exactly Does the Committee Do?

NH safety regulations require that the JLMC must:

  • Meet at least quarterly.
  • Elect a chairperson (to be rotated between management and employees).
  • Develop and communicate a committee policy statement.
  • Maintain clearly established goals and objectives, and communicate them to all employees.
  • Review workplace accident and injury data to establish the committee’s goals and objectives.
  • Develop safety programs that designate individuals knowledgeable of specific safety requirements for each department or site, provide for inspections at least annually, present performance audits of inspection findings, and inform management of identified hazards and suggested control measures.
  • Hold regular employer and employee safety training.
  • Create alternative work programs that allow and encourage employees to return to work after illnesses or injuries.

Every New Hampshire Safety Committee can start off on the right foot by first creating their committee policy statement, setting a schedule for the rest of the year’s meetings, and establishing goals for the committee. 

It might also help to conduct a walk-through safety inspection of your facility between the first and second meetings. This will help you identify safety hazards and/or concerns so that they can be addressed at the next meeting.

Depending on the size and safety needs of your organization, you may also need to split the group into subcommittees. This gives your committee the ability to truly focus on individual safety areas and make sure every concern is properly addressed. For example, one group can be tasked with addressing safety hazards/concerns, another group could be in charge of drafting the safety program, and a third group could focus on developing safety training opportunities.

Developing a NH Safety Program & Committee

An effective JLMC and clearly defined written safety program will help you stay compliant with NH labor laws, reduce risk, and create a safe, comfortable environment for all of your employees. Illness and injury prevention will also help reduce workers’ compensation claims and company costs. Not to mention, a well-run Safety Committee could even encourage other employees to get involved!

Factors like your company’s size, industry, and the number of locations will all determine safety requirements and needs. If you’d like more guidance on organizing your business’s safety committee and written safety guide, contact BlueLion at 603-818-4131 or [email protected] to learn more about our HR solutions! We’ll always have your back and help ensure both your company and your employees are protected.

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