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HSE seeks new ways to get workers involved

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), on behalf of the Health and Safety Commission (HSC), issued a Consultative Document on 24 April 2006 to seek the views of managers, workers and their representatives on how to encourage, improve and increase worker involvement in health and safety risk management.

Involving workers is described by the HSC as one of the key themes of its strategy and both the HSC and the HSE are committed to improving the quantity and quality of workers’ participation in the management of health and safety at work.

"Workers know the most about the jobs they do, so they are often in the best position to develop safe and practical systems of work,” confirms Geoffrey Podger, Chief Executive of the HSE. "Effective worker involvement can reduce accidents and ill health. It is fundamental to ensuring the success of all other interventions on health and safety. It is important, therefore, that we actively encourage and support organisations to involve their workers.”

The Consultative Document suggests that there are three pillars to the strategy of increasing workers’ participation in the management of health and safety: legislation; guidance and encouragement. It sets out the current position and options to strengthen each of the pillars, including possible amendments to the law on consultation with employees. The Consultative Document invites comments on these options and any new ideas that have not been considered.

"We want this consultation to gather as many views as possible,” says Zoe Woodrow, Policy Adviser with the HSE’s Worker Involvement Programme. "Both workers and employers are instrumental in making involvement successful. So we want to know what managers, workers and their representatives think. We have suggested some options but we would welcome other ideas, too.”

To encourage as many people as possible to participate in the consultation, the HSE is also publishing a summary document to introduce the issues involved, as well as organising a number of regional meetings to enable people to share and discuss their views.

"The feedback we receive will help us to make the right decisions about how we focus our efforts in this important area,” continues Zoe Woodrow. "We recognise that people’s time is limited, which is why we have also published a summary document. We hope that as many people as possible will take a look at the documents and let us know what they think.”

You can access the Consultative Document 'Improving worker involvement – Improving health and safety' (CD207), as well as the summary document and feedback form, via the 'Your views' section of the HSE's website, and more information about worker involvement can be found on the HSE’s workers webpages.

The consultation is open until 8 September 2006.

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