Companies that ask employees for their views on health and safety issues can cut down on accidents, a study by the UK's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has found.
By including workers' ideas and involving them in enforcing health and safety rules, companies can create a positive attitude towards maintaining good practice and make significant improvements, according to the report, "Employee Involvement in Health and Safety: Some Examples of Good Practice." The report includes case studies which may be useful to companies seeking to promote employee involvement.
One company cut its reportable accidents in half by training nominated safety representatives within the workforce in key health and safety issues so they could help managers enforce the rules.
In another example, a joint venture between two companies with a combined workforce of 1,400 was prosecuted twice by the HSE and had poor accident figures. They decided to raise employees' awareness of health and safety by dividing employees into groups of 10 that met with managers every two weeks to devise ways of measuring safety performance. Practical ideas for improving safety in the workplace also came out of these groups and there was a large decrease in accidents, from 1.2 to 0.1 per 100,000 man hours.
The report is available on HSE's Web site at www.hse.gov.uk/research/hsl_pdf/2001/employ-i.pdf.
edited by Sandy Smith ([email protected]m)