Accident rates are lower where employees genuinely feel they have a say in health and safety matters (14%), compared with workplaces where employees do not get involved (26%).
Employee involvement in health and safety management relates to a more positive health and safety climate - 77% of employees felt encouraged to raise concerns in a good health and safety climate compared to 20% who felt encouraged to do so in a poor health and safety climate. In poor health and safety climates, accident rates are highest among workplaces where employees do not feel they can have a say.
Stronger employee involvement means better control of common workplace risks such as slips and trips - very effective in 76% of cases where employees felt they were always consulted but only very effective in 40% of cases if they thought they were rarely, or never consulted.
Employers can learn about the risks through consultation - the risk of stress and slips and trips occur practically everywhere, but awareness of them is higher where there is employee involvement (62%) compared to where there is no involvement (28%).
Research has also shown that workplaces with health and safety committees where some members are selected by unions have significantly lower rates of work-related injury than found in workplaces with no co-operative health and safety management.
Source: HSE Fit3 (Fit for Work, Fit for Life, Fit for Tomorrow) employer and employee surveys 2005/06 (provisional results) and Nichols T, Walters D and Tasiran AC (2007) Journal of Industrial Relations; 49: 211-225