A Guide to the Factories and Industrial Undertakings 
(Safety Management) Regulation

2. Duty of proprietor and contractor

2.3  Establish safety committee

A proprietor or contractor specified in Category 1 or 3 of Appendix I should -

  • establish at least one safety committee having the function of identifying, recommending and keeping under review measures to improve the safety and health of the workers in his industrial undertaking;

    In general, it should not be necessary for an industrial undertaking to have two or more safety committees for the same workplace.  However, if the proprietor or contractor has two or more workplaces in different locations, he should have a safety committee at each locality (i.e. the workplace level) as well as at the enterprise level.

  • implement any measures recommended by the safety committee.

    A mechanism should be established to effectively communicate the decisions and actions recommended by the safety committee to persons responsible for their implementation.  The decisions and recommendations of a safety committee should be brought to the notice of workers by displaying the relevant documents in conspicuous places or making them available by other convenient means. 

  • The safety committee so established should -
    • have at least half of its members (irrespective of whether they are nominated or elected) represent workers in the industrial undertaking;

      The size of a safety committee should not be too large.  A balance should be struck between a wide representation and a reasonable size.

    • be provided with a written statement setting out rules governing its membership, terms of reference and meeting procedures;

      The length of service of a member on the committee will have to be considered in relation to effective operation of the committee.  It would serve the safety committee better if replacement of current members by new hands is staggered.  It may be necessary to draw up additional rules for the conduct of meetings, which could include procedures by which the committee reaches decisions.

    • meet at least once every 3 months; 

      In general, the frequency of meetings of a safety committee depends upon the volume of work to be handled, the complexity of the plant and the nature of hazards of the workplace.

    • keep records of its meetings for at least 5 years and make the records available for inspection upon request by an occupational safety officer; and

      The proprietor or contractor should ensure that proper records of meetings on safety committee are kept to provide a progress report on decisions made, recommendations put forward and actions taken.

    • discuss at its meeting only matters relating to the safety and health at work of the workers in the industrial undertaking.

      To ensure smooth operation of the safety committee, meetings must be planned beforehand, with the matters to be discussed listed on an agenda which is sent to all committee members so that they come to the meeting prepared to make their contribution.

A proprietor or contractor should not terminate, or threaten to terminate, the employment of, or discriminate against a worker by reason of the fact that the worker has performed his function as a member of a safety committee.

1. Introduction
2. Duty of proprietor and contractor
3. Duty of registered safety auditor, safety review officer and scheme operator 
4. Penalty
5. Related occupational safety and health publications published by the Labour Department 
6. Useful information