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HSE Corner: Consulting Employees on Health and Safety

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Why should you consult employees on health and safety?

Consulting with employees can have real benefits for your business, including:

  • Increased productivity – businesses with good workforce involvement in health and safety tend to have a better productivity rate.
  • Improvements in overall efficiency and quality.
  • Higher levels of workforce motivation.


Consulting employees about health and safety can result in:

  • A healthier and safer workplace – your employees can help you to identify hazards, assess risks and develop ways to control or remove risks.
  • Better decisions about health and safety – they are based on the input and experience of a range of people, including employees who have extensive knowledge about their own job and the business.
  • A stronger commitment to implementing decisions or actions – as employees have been actively involved in reaching these decisions.
  • Greater co-operation and trust – employers and employees who talk to each other and listen to each other, gain a better understanding of each other’s views.
  • Joint problem-solving.


What must you consult about?

You must consult with employees about the following:

  • The introduction of any measure which may substantially affect their health and safety at work; e.g. the introduction of new equipment or new systems of work, such as shift-work arrangements.
  • Arrangements for getting competent people to help comply with health and safety laws (a competent person is someone who has the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to help an employer meet the requirements of health and safety law).
  • The information you must give your employees on the risks and dangers arising from their work, measures to reduce or get rid of these risks and what employees should do if they are exposed to a risk.
  • The planning and organisation of health and safety training.
  • The health and safety consequences of introducing a new technology.


What information should I make available to my employees?

Information should include any risks arising from employee work activities, the measures in place or proposals to control these risks, and what they should do if they are exposed to a risk, including emergency procedures. You should already have the relevant information needed for employees as part of your health and safety management system, such as copies of risk assessments or accident records.

You do not have to provide information if:

  • It would be against the law.
  • It is about someone who has not given their permission for it to be given out.
  • It would, other than for reasons of its effect on health and safety, cause substantial injury to the organisation.


What does consultation with employees involve?

Consultation involves you not only giving information to your employees but also listening to them and taking account of what they say before making any health and safety decisions.


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