Getting workers to contribute to health and safety
Engaged workers fully commit to their work and to the success of the company.
They put in more effort, enhance productivity, go out of their way to help others, have fewer accidents, and offer valuable suggestions on ways to increase efficiencies and improve the work environment.
Empower your workers to take control of their own, and their co-workers, health and safety. They can often anticipate potential problems that you may overlook.
‘The first step is to bring all your workers together, and maybe your contractors, your clients, sit down and start asking the questions: How can we work together more closely? How can we work for the benefit of all out businesses? It doesn’t cost anything. It’s free to ask questions.’
Manager, Safety and Environment, Cerebral Palsy Alliance
Key elements of worker engagement
There are key elements you can address to increase worker engagement in your workplace health and safety culture.
Workers who understand the company’s objectives, and their role in achieving these objectives, are much more engaged in the workplace. As well as contributing to improved productivity, their trust in your management will grow.
Let workers know they are important and that you trust them to do the job right. When they do the right thing, or go above what is expected, a simple thank you can go a long way to instilling confidence, reinforcing positive behaviour, and fostering engagement.
Investing in the continued growth and professional development of your staff will lead to a more satisfied and stable workforce. This will result in less staff turnover and a more productive and safer workplace.
Legally, you have to consult with workers about workplace health and safety. But consultation also makes good business sense – it is the best and cheapest way to identify safety issues.
You can consult with workers in different ways. Some workplaces have regular meetings of all staff, others select a health and safety representative or set up health and safety committees to represent their concerns.
Consultation must occur when planned workplace changes may affect the health and safety of workers or when there are concerns about the adequacy of worker facilities.
When workers are not properly trained, it can be dangerous and even fatal for their own and others’ safety. It can also create significant and expensive issues for your business.
Managers and supervisors need to be approachable and trustworthy. The concerns, opinions and ideas of workers need to be listened to without them fearing retribution.
Encouraging continuous discussion and feedback will create new thinking around safety, offer new alternatives, and ensure your workplace is not only safety conscious but also engaged, productive and working in the company’s best interests.