Our strategy involves management workforce partnerships based on trust, respect and co-operation. From this, a culture can evolve, ensuring that health and safety problems are resolved and concerns, ideas and solutions are freely shared and acted upon. To be truly effective, participation must go beyond consultation – employees should also be actively involved in making decisions. Although workplace consultations provide a platform for employers to involve employees, this is not sufficient in the current economic climate and your worker involvement should be linked to your business framework.
Top Tips for Effective Worker Involvement
- Ensure directors and managers visibly support worker involvement in order to promote a safety culture. Engage personnel at every level of the company and use different approaches for different groups. Don’t forget to include shift workers and part-timers.
- Ensure managers and safety representatives receive training in communication, e.g. eliciting views, presenting a case, giving feedback, etc. Opportunities for face-to-face dialogue and feedback include: shop floor discussions; toolbox talks; briefing sessions; suggestion schemes, including via the company’s intranet; management meetings; and individual discussions. If they are to be productive, discussions should be broad, as work organisation, changes in working methods, production, technologies and equipment can all affect health and safety.
- Make sure that health and safety committees have a balance of employee representatives and managers. If safety representatives feel intimidated about speaking out, managers should consider removing themselves from part of the meeting to allow the representative speak freely.
- Trial an opinion survey and act quickly on suggestions or shortcomings and consider publicising responses. That way, employees will start to accept that you are serious about their involvement. Upon receipt of suggestions, always ensure the person making the suggestion receives feedback – whether good or bad.
- Include employees when carrying out risk assessments and seek their views about problems and solutions. The more workers actively participate in the assessments, the more effective the control measures are likely to be.
- Consider setting up a working group to tackle a specific problem. When planning measures to deal with specific hazards, involving those who work on relevant tasks will help ensure that the outcome takes into account their experience.
Act now to involve employees in health and safety if you want to avoid major problems that may result in prosecution and civil action.
Contact us if you require assistance.