Worker Involvement: Consulting and involving employees in health and safety
By law, all UK employers must consult their employees, or the employee representatives, on matters affecting employees’ health and safety at work. In essence, this means giving employees information about the risks they face and taking account of their views before making decisions about the best ways of controlling the health and safety risks.
Workplaces where employees are involved in taking decisions about health and safety are safer and healthier. Your employees influence health and safety through their own actions. They are often the best people to understand the risks in their workplace. Talking, listening and co-operating with each other can help you to:
identify joint solutions to problems;
develop a positive health and safety culture where risks are managed sensibly;
reduce accidents and ill health, plus their related costs to your business;
bring about improvements in overall efficiency, quality and productivity;
meet customer demands and maintain credibility; and
comply with legal requirements.
People who feel valued and involved in decision-making play a big part in a high-performing workplace. Empowering your workforce, giving them the right skills, and getting them involved in making decisions shows them that you take their health, safety and well-being seriously. They raise concerns and offer solutions.
Other benefits include:
lower accident rates;
a more positive health and safety climate;
greater awareness of workplace risks; and
better control of workplace risks.
Last week the BSC have published a guide entitled ‘Worker Involvement: A guide to consulting and involving employees in health and safety’. It provides an overview of the law on consulting employees on health and safety matters, as well as providing general advice on how to ensure effective workforce involvement in managing health and safety risks, based on HSE guidance. Additionally the HSE website has a whole host of free guidance on ways of consulting and involving workers in managing health and safety.
So why not follow the links and spend a bit more time considering just how important the points raised above are. For any further help and advice in putting this guide into practice for your business, please contact us here.