HSC boosts consultation

The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) has announced a new package of
measures to improve employers’ consultation with workers on health and safety.

The package consists of two stages. Work will start immediately on the
first, which includes new regulations to harmonise general consultation
arrangements, based on the principles of the existing Safety Representative and
Safety Committees Regulations 1977. The regulations will empower employees in
workplaces where unions are not recognised to decide whether they wish to be
consulted by their employer on health and safety issues directly or through an
elected representative.

The HSC will be testing workers’ safety adviser pilots in workplaces where
there is little or no employee representation and health and safety performance
is poor.

The second, more medium-term stage will consist of:

– A publicity campaign to raise awareness of the new regulatory package

– Research to explore more practical and less resource-intensive
alternatives to provisional improvement notices (PINs), which are issued by
safety representatives in some other countries, to notify employers of an
alleged breach of the law and

– Exploring new enforcement initiatives and training for inspectors relating
to worker consultation in the light of the new regulations.

Commenting on the package, Health and Safety Chair Bill Callaghan said,
"Genuine consultation is central to forming effective partnerships between
employers, unions, workers and their safety representatives.

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