Posted on Wednesday, 28th November 2018
Managing health risks is essential for any construction company or site but how can you get employees involved in the process? Simply informing staff of health risks means that they may not fully grasp what the risks are or have difficulty appreciating how to look after themselves and others in the workplace. Involving staff in the discussion around construction health and safety means that they will be better equipped to understand and manage risk.
What does the law say?
Firstly, it is the law to consult with employees on health and safety. There are two sets of regulations that provide guidance on your duty to consult with workers about health and safety:
You might only have to consult under one set of regulations, or both, depending on your business circumstances. HSE has a handy flowchart that shows which regulations may apply in your circumstances.
The benefits of involving employees
Working together with employees to develop, maintain and promote safety measures has numerous benefits – for both the workforce and your business.
By consulting with employees, you give them a chance to voice concerns, report new issues and to directly influence policy surrounding their own health. Staff will also gain a better understanding of the risks they face and why they must take certain precautions, wearing PPE, for example. A deeper understanding of health risks and the effects they can have on them and their families will encourage employees to work safely.
As with any type of employee consultation, staff will feel more valued that their opinion and participation has been sought, leading to a greater feeling of job satisfaction.
As an employer, you will feel numerous benefits from gaining employee participation. Firstly, a greater reassurance that the risk assessments and controls you use are appropriate, and that they are understood and adhered to.
Involving workers in company policy and listening to concerns also positions you as a good employer. The benefit of this can include a lower staff turnover, improved attendance and easier recruiting. Consulting with your employees on important matters such as their health also demonstrates your attention to corporate social responsibility.
You may even be able to benefit from improved insurance policies and costs!
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) initiative, Safe & Sound at Work, is a great place to start. The step-by-step guide is primarily aimed at small to medium size businesses and offers practical hints and tips on how to improve existing consultation and staff involvement. Visit the website to download training resources, posters and leaflets.
The construction industry's Leadership and Worker Engagement Forum have also developed a leadership and worker involvement toolkit to help contractors and managers learn how to make health and safety improvements in their businesses. This includes a Safety Diagnostic Tool.
You will also find detailed information on the HSE website on how to consult with and involve employees in health and safety.