Key messages

  • All workers should know what they have to do to meet the requirements of health and safety law.
  • Duty holders, managers and supervisors should ensure they do it.
  • Employees need information about how to work safely;
  • Good communication within an organisation helps create and maintain a safe workplace.

Good communication

When communication is good:

  • Everyone feels that they have a part to play in improving health and safety standards
  • Everyone is clear about their health and safety responsibilities
  • Changes are quickly understood and put into practice across the whole organisation.
  • Workers and safety representatives contribute to decisions about health and safety.
  • Workers understand the risks and why they need to be controlled.
  • Information is up-to-date and given out regularly.
  • Co-operation in shared workplaces ensures that everyone is safe.

What workers need to know

You need to tell workers about:

  • the organisation's safety policy, and what it means in practice;
  • who has which safety responsibilities;
  • safe working practices that they should follow;
  • what will happen if they do not follow safety practices;
  • where they can get more information, instruction or training on particular areas of their work activities (this should be easily available – for example, in an area where drivers or other workers take regular breaks);
  • how well they have followed safe working practices; and
  • how important it is to communicate with other employers, for example, agreeing safety precautions and responsibilities for visiting vehicles delivering or collecting goods.

Encourage everyone in your workplace (including contractors) to take an active interest in safety issues. Everyone should have the chance to express their views or concerns to those in charge of the workplace and the people they work with.

As well as making good sense, consulting employees on health and safety matters is a legal requirement. If your organisation has safety representatives appointed by a trade union that your organisation recognises, by law you must consult them. If there are no safety representatives, you should consult the employees themselves or any health and safety representative they have elected.

Employers have a legal duty to set up a health and safety committee when two or more safety representatives from recognised trade unions ask them to do so. A health and safety committee can be an effective way of encouraging everyone in the workplace (including visitors delivering or collecting goods) to co-operate in their health and safety responsibilities.

Is this page useful?