Employee involvement can cut down accident toll

Companies which canvass their
employees for their views on health and safety issues can cut down on
accidents, a study by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) claims.

The report finds that 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.

The report, Employee involvement
in health and safety – some examples of good practice
, includes case
studies which may be useful to organisations 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.

The study also highlights a
joint venture between two firms with a combined workforce of 1,400 which had
been prosecuted twice by the HSE and had poor accident figures.

They decided to raise
employees’ awareness of health and safety. Groups of 10 employees were set up
which met managers every two weeks to devise ways of measuring safety
performance and published the results. Practical ideas for improving safety in
the workplace also arose from these groups and there was a huge drop in
accidents from 1.2 to 0.1 per 100,000 man hours.

The report is available on
HSE’s website at www.hse.gov.uk/research/hsl_pdf/2001/employ-i.pdf

By Ben Willmott

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