Key messages

  • Workers and duty holders must co-operate on matters of health and safety.
  • By law, employees must co-operate with their employers, so they can meet with their health and safety responsibilities. A clear and simple procedure for reporting faults, hazards and incidents (often known as a 'near-miss reporting scheme') can help prevent serious accidents.

Accident and 'near-miss' reporting

A clear and simple accident reporting system helps you

  • meet your legal duties to report accidents;
  • monitor how effective measures to prevent accidents are;
  • make sure that all accidents are reported to managers;
  • see what went wrong and where things could improve; and
  • involve workers in health and safety decisions.

Employers should not use accident reports to blame people as this may discourage employees from using it.

Monitoring safe working

Supervision is an essential part of monitoring safe working. The level of supervision should reflect how serious the risks involved are and the ability of employees to avoid them. Even where risks are low, some supervision will always be needed to make sure that standards are maintained.

There are also other ways of making sure people meet their duties. Security systems (such as patrols, gate staff and camera systems) can be an effective way of checking that workplace rules are followed. Gate staff in particular can be an effective way of making sure visitors receive safety information before they enter the site.

There will usually need to be a clear system of penalties if anyone fails to maintain standards or follow safe working practices. For employees, there are usually disciplinary procedures, with the possibility of dismissal. For contractors, there may be financial penalties or termination of their contract (or both).

Authorising specific people to operate certain vehicles, or to carry out vehicle-related activities (such as maintenance) can help employers or managers control risks.

In a large organisation, senior managers need to be satisfied that managers and supervisors involved in day-to-day work activities are able to secure safe working practices and a safe workplace. They need to be able to:

  • control risks;
  • communicate effectively to maintain a flow of information on safety, in both directions;
  • encourage the people they are responsible for to co-operate; and
  • organise activity in a way that secures and maintains a safe working environment.

In all organisations, duty holders need to make sure wherever possible that employees, contractors and visitors are carrying out their work activities in a safe and responsible way. For workplace transport, this is likely to include checking training and previous experience, knowledge, abilities and general fitness for tasks they need to do (see Personnel).

Employers need to be able and willing to provide information, instruction, supervision and helpful feedback to employees on their safety performance.

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