Consulting with representatives
You can still use some of the same methods to consult representatives that you would use to consult individuals, for example one-to-one meetings with the relevant representative, if appropriate. It is best to consult representatives through a proper forum. You can do this in a number of ways:
- Have a dedicated health and safety committee. They are effective if you have several representatives for different groups, larger numbers of employees, both union-appointed representatives and employee-elected representatives, or representatives responsible for more than one site.
- You may already be consulting your employees about other issues affecting the business and workforce through systems like a joint consultative committee or works council. You may decide these are suitable ways to consult your employee representatives about health and safety matters too. However, give proper consideration to health and safety matters and do not just add them to a lengthy agenda which cannot do them justice.
For more information about joint consultative committees and works councils visit the Acas website or see their advisory booklet Employee Communications and Consultation.
Investigation and inspection
Health and safety representatives appointed by trade unions have prescribed functions, which you can involve them in including:
It is good practice to involve workforce-elected representatives in joint investigations and inspections too.
Case study: BAE systems aerostructures
BAE Systems management worked closely with trade union AMICUS and representatives to develop effective working relationship that allows the business to create a safe and healthy working environment for employees that reaches beyond the standards required by legislation...