You are required by law to consult with your employees on health and safety matters in the workplace. But involving your employees in health and safety decisions can be more than just a simple government mandate completed for the sake of compliance—it actually comes with untold benefits.
Talking, listening and cooperating with employees when making health and safety decisions helps reduce accidents, improve overall efficiency and identify solutions to problems.
Indeed, the numbers bear witness: accident rates are lower—around 14 per cent—when employees genuinely feel they have a say in health and safety matters, compared to workplaces where employees do not get involved (26 per cent), according to the HSE.
Employee involvement in health and safety planning helps create a more positive health and safety climate—77 per cent of employees felt encouraged to raise concerns in a good health and safety climate, compared to 20 per cent who felt encouraged to do so in a poor health and safety climate. In poor health and safety climates, accident rates are highest among workplaces where employees do not feel their opinion matters.
Conferring with your employees also helps control common workplace risks such as slips and trips. Methods to control such risks were very effective in 76 per cent of cases where employees felt they were always consulted, but they were only considered very effective in 40 per cent of cases if employees thought they were rarely, or never, consulted.
Also, involving your employees in health and safety decisions greatly increases awareness of workplace risks, which in turn leads to a safer, healthier workplace. Workplaces that involve employees in health and safety decisions report that employers’ awareness of workplace risks is 62 per cent, compared to a rate of just 28 per cent in workplaces where there is no involvement.
To boost your workplace’s health and safety efficacy, go beyond simply fulfilling your legal obligation of consulting with employees on health and safety matters—intimately involve them in all health and safety planning and you will reap numerous benefits.