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News

HSE research shows importance of safety representatives in the workplace

HSE InfoLine : 30 June, 2005  (Company News)
A Health and Safety Executive report, published today, confirms evidence of a positive link between the appointment of safety representatives and levels of health and safety awareness and performance.
A Health and Safety Executive report, published today, confirms evidence of a positive link between the appointment of safety representatives and levels of health and safety awareness and performance.

The findings of the report, The role and effectiveness of safety representatives in influencing workplace health and safety, show how safety representatives encourage worker participation in risk management and how consultation on health and safety helps to improve the working environment.

The report focuses on case studies from two major and potentially hazardous industries, chemicals and construction.

It highlights the importance of the context in which consultation takes place. It also identifies a need for more research. In particular, it calls for more detailed analysis of what forms of worker participation work best and how they might be improved.
HSE sees the report as a contribution to the delivery of its strategy on the role of employees in health and safety risk management. It set up a Worker Involvement Programme in January 2005 to encourage more and better employee participation in health and safety management. Evidence from a number of sources suggests that good employee participation leads to better health and safety at work.

Stuart Bristow, HSE's worker involvement programme manager commented, 'HSE's Worker Involvement Programme represents a step change in our approach to encouraging worker involvement in health and safety . This report provides valuable support to the case for the effectiveness of employee participation and its recommendation for further analysis is in line with our strategy.'

Hugh Robertson, TUC's senior policy advisor on health and safety, welcomed the report stating, 'The TUC is pleased to see further evidence of the effect that unions and consultation with the workforce have in improving the safety culture within an organisation. We now need further research to ensure that we know what factors lead to this effect.'
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