14 October 2008, Sadler's Wells Theatre, London
Involving the workforce is at the very heart of the management of health and safety at work. In the ever-changing work environment - with new risks and new challenges, worker involvement remains constant and essential principle of effective health and safety management.
To reinvigorate worker involvement and encourage the sharing of good practice and discussions on the way forward, HSE ran a successful “Worker Involvement in Health and Safety” conference on 14 October 2008, which also saw the launch of a suite of new guidance on worker involvement and consultation. The conference, chaired by Judith Hackitt, HSE Chair, and addressed by Health and Safety Minister Lord McKenzie of Luton, drew together key stakeholders from a variety of sectors - including employers, trade union representatives, employer and professional organisations
Consulting and involving the workforce in making work activities safe and healthy should be normal practice because it is the right thing to do and because it works and delivers real benefits. Chairing the conference, Judith Hackitt highlighted the clear evidence that organisations with good worker involvement deliver better performance on health and safety, and that 90 percent of employers and employees already agree that effective involvement is important.
Speaking at the conference, Lord McKenzie of Luton said, "The key principles of the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) were built upon consultation and engagement and are as relevant today as they were thirty years ago. I see two key tenets here, firstly the importance of leadership from the top of every organisation, and secondly the real involvement of workers in managing health and safety."
The conference's morning sessions focussed on sharing of good practice and included presentations of case studies from different sizes and types of businesses such as BT, Trant Construction Limited and Windowstyle UK Limited.
The afternoon discussion focussed on how various stakeholders in the GB health and safety system could increase the level and quality of worker involvement across all of Great Britain industry. The session was started off by presentations from social partners and produced useful and constructive ideas that may help develop plans to take forward worker involvement.
Read the summary of discussions on how various stakeholders in the GB health and safety system could increase the level and quality of worker involvement across all of Great Britain industry
Launching a suite of guidance on worker involvement and consultation at the conference, Judith Hackitt said, "The real substance of good worker involvement is trust, respect, co-operation and joint problem solving between employers and employees. This applies to all workplaces irrespective of size or any other factor. This guidance will help all organisations to decide how to implement a culture in their organisation which genuinely values employees contributions leading to higher commitment and productivity."
The suite of guidance was brought up-to-date to reflect the current diversity of working arrangements and include:
Discussion panel: Judith Hackitt, Gary Booton, Roger Bibbings and Hope Daley
From left: Lord McKenzie of Luton, Judith Hackitt, Mike Reed, Dr.Catherine Kilfedder, David Bacon, Peter Margieson and Steve Catterall