Factors to consider
Many factors affect how you can engage your employees:
- Structure of the business
- Management style
- Organisational and safety cultures
- Trade union recognition and employment relations
- Size of workplace
- Location of sites
- Types of work done
- Degree and nature of inherent dangers
- Size of workforce
- Diversity of the workforce
- Employment structures (for example, direct employees, agency and contract workers)
- Work patterns (for example, shift systems, part-time working)
- Offsite, remote or mobile workers.
Questions you will need to ask yourself include:
- Do we consult individuals or representatives?
- How do we consult them?
- How can we organise inspections and investigations?
- How can we co-ordinate between committees?
A high-risk workplace with a large unionised workforce spread over multiple sites may have trade union representatives from different sites as members of a site-based health and safety committee that meets regularly, and feeds into a corporate health and safety committee.
A non-unionised smaller workplace located on one small, low-risk site, is more likely to consult directly with employees on a day-to-day basis.
Case study: BSkyB
BSkyB created a single forum for the whole business bringing together separate structures that had previously engaged with staff at their cross UK workplaces. They established an effective two-way communication channels that "plugged in" employees from all over the UK and created a partnership between management and employees...