How to gain commitment
Commitment from all sides is vital for employee involvement to be effective and successful in improving health and safety. This means that you, your employees, and trade unions where they are recognised, all need to be working together.
Get commitment from the business
If you are in charge of a business, or responsible for managing health and safety, you might need to convince others in management to commit. Leadership and commitment from management is important in making involvement successful. Apart from your legal duty to consult, you can demonstrate why this is something you should be doing by building a case in a number of ways.
- Highlight how co-operating with employees in other areas of the business has led to improvements;
- Use case studies to show the benefits to the business;
- Look at current health and safety issues that you could tackle through consultation. For example, if you see an increase in a particular type of injury, discuss the best way to address it with staff;
- Explain that engaging the workforce is an investment, and it may take time to develop trust, but it has been shown to reduce workplace injuries and accidents; and
- Reassure your managers that it will not diminish effective management because consultation does not mean you have to agree about every issue, but rather discuss the areas of disagreement and respect the views of others.
Get commitment from your employees
Employees are more likely to engage and believe in consultation when senior managers show personal and long-term commitment, and listen to the views of employees because they want to hear what the workforce has to say.
Your employees are more likely to communicate with you if:
- you show them that you believe in the benefits of consultation
- they are committed to the businesses goals, including the health and safety goals;
- they think it is in their interests to participate;
- they trust you and find you approachable;
- your actions match your words; and
- you encourage your employees to be health and safety representatives.
As you demonstrate your commitment to workforce involvement in health and safety, it will develop your workforce's commitment. This helps to build the trust, co-operation and communication you need to make it work.
- See things from a shared perspective - train your managers, supervisors and health and safety representatives together...
Case study: Overcoming challenges
A truck manufacturer in the North-East wanted to capitalise on the knowledge of their workers in managing noise and vibration issues but knew they would have to rise to the challenge if they were to reap the benefits...