About this toolkit

This Leadership and Worker Involvement toolkit is the output of a three-year project carried out by the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) in collaboration with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and principal contractors in the construction sector.

Its goal is quite simply to help small and medium sized construction sites improve their health and safety performance through engaging with their workforce.

Phase 1 - Literature review

A literature review carried out between October 2007 and March 2008 confirmed the need to have two key complementary processes in place in any organisation:

  1. Strong leadership
  2. Worker involvement

Leaders play a key role in creating an atmosphere (or culture) where health and safety is taken seriously on site and everyone looks out for each other. Workers play an important part in making improvements to 'the way we do things around here', whether this be simple modifications to the work environment and/or equipment or coming up with a new (and potentially more efficient) way of working. Talking to workers about the way they carry out tasks, especially when they are seen to behave in an unsafe or unhealthy way, prompts useful discussions about changes that are needed.

Interviews with eight principal contractors (mostly Health and Safety Managers) and consultants gave the HSE an insight into existing Leadership and Worker Involvement (LWI) programmes. These findings were used to develop this toolkit's framework and the guidance and/or tools that each of the seven steps should contain. In essence, this toolkit is a means for construction managers to "reduce harm by learning from the best in construction".

Phase 2 - Paper-based toolkit

A paper-based toolkit was developed between April 2008 and March 2009. Eight construction managers from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) helped to refine the content, which was later tested on six of these managers to check their understanding and get their feedback on the usefulness of the guidance and tools

Phase 3 - Digital delivery

In the final phase of this project, content was uploaded to a bespoke website. Initial workshops with 16 construction managers responsible for health and safety (12 of which belonged to SMEs) helped to refine the framework and ordering of the guidance/tools to make them suitable for a web-based navigation.

Refinements following user trials with managers and workers in six construction sites and feasibility testing with a further six SMEs marked the end of Phase 3.

Special thanks go to all the SMEs that helped us to develop this toolkit, and the principal contractors who shared their knowledge and experiences with us and provided ongoing support and commitment to this project.

The principal contractors involved in building the toolkit are:

In addition to the above organisations, other Principal contractors and SMEs involved in testing this toolkit are:

Go to the Seven Steps of the Worker Involvement Toolkit

Updated: 30.09.19