11 Tips on Worker Involvement in Safety & Health (WISH)

11 Tips on Worker Involvement in Safety & Health (WISH)

WISH – Worker involvement in safety and health is a two- way process (of both employer and employee) i.e. the worker and employer should work together to identify and rectify health and safety problems in order to improve employee as well as the health and safety of organization.

In organizational health and safety management some activities plays a vital role, which are as follows,

  • worker involvement
  • Effective health and safety leadership
  • Accessing correct advice , hard training skills

Suchcollaborative work can be done through

  • ‘buy-in’ and in turn.
  • Profitability
  • The level of workforce loyalty
  • Increased productivity

A research says that, the worker representation and consultation is an important role in the process of health and safety enhancement at workplace.

ISO 45001 gives the significance of consultation and worker participation.

Benefits of worker involvement

WISH – Worker involvement in safety and health is a two- way process (of both employer and employee) i.e. the worker and employer should work together to identify and rectify health and safety problems in order to improve employee as well as the health and safety of organization.

In organizational health and safety management some activities plays a vital role, which are as follows,

  • worker involvement
  • Effective health and safety leadership
  • Accessing correct advice , hard training skills

Suchcollaborative work can be done through

  • ‘buy-in’ and in turn.
  • Profitability
  • The level of workforce loyalty
  • Increased productivity

A research says that, the worker representation and consultation is an important role in the process of health and safety enhancement at workplace.

ISO 45001 gives the significance of consultation and worker participation.

Barriers to engagement

The health and safety is a complex subject for many people, as dealing with rules and regulations, and key legislations are quite hard to understand.

The awareness regarding role of HSE might be less and it is often related with enforcement and not as prevention in many of the organizations.

Some of the barriers to engagement are as follows,

  • Fear
  • Respect
  • Age/experience
  • Terminology
  • Misunderstanding or lack of awareness in health and safety
  • Difficult level of health and safety rules and regulations
  • Remote workers
  • Transient workforce
  • Cultural attitude at workplace. The kind of importance attached with health and safety and belief of health and safety implementation is higher by means of resources and time.
  • There is a common belief that the practice of health and safety will safeguard efficient and fast working
  • Don’t have wished to connect as team.
  • Many individualsdon’t know what they are good at.
  • Managers don’t know the actual advantages – time and cost spend for implementing good practices
  • Looking employee as a number
  • Managers are under too pressure to make use of soft skills.

11 Tips for workers Involvement

Rome wasn’t built in a day

The new business process and engaging workers will take more time. You may expect the result must be achieved in very short term. Number of organizations has proven and shown that it takes around at least 5 years to embed a new process.

Refine and re-define

Employees’ commitment towards health and safety must be a continuous process and not as complete process. Alike technological factors organizational safety should also continuously need to be developed and adapted to environment.

Take a top down approach

The higher officials like senior directors, managers and supervisors are supposed to be an example. If there is a transparent work support for “worker involvement culture” there will be a positive adoption in “buy – in” will be easy.

Communicate

Key objectives must be clear and consistent.The terms used must be easy and it should be understand by people of all background. The advantages of workforce involved in occupational health and safety should be known to all workers and they should know the positive result of buy- in. Some form of key statistical data, work environment scenario, and analogies can help in conveying the message more clearly.

Account for opinions

  • Suggestions/comments/shortfalls from employee as an opinion should be welcomed.
  • Here Openness and visibility will give credit as the employer looks at the commitment and it shows that you are valuing their co-operationin work and accepting their opinions too.

Feedback

  • In case you are acting based on suggestions ensure that you are giving workers, gave suggestions with appropriate response.
  • If you are not able to respond to any suggestion, the answer will be valued.
  • Workers suggestion should be considered seriously – They are your ‘front line’staff.
  • Make a central area to store this suggestion and so, the responses can be accessed by whomever they need.

Engage

  • Make your employees of all levels in hierarchy.
  • Try different tactics for different groups as well as individual level.
    Example: An E- mail may not be get accessed in a factory floor or warehouse.
  • But, some organizations has ‘pc kiosks’ for central source of information through which one can come to know the general information like holiday forms, e- mail and much more.
  • It relays on a workforce while you consider WISH and might need to get support with strengthen support.

Walk the walk

Inspect site and have direct contact with staffs. Conduct small meetings once in a while and conduct safety observation walks with employees.

Maintain

  • Have a regular system for reporting accidents/ mishaps/ problems / near misses / complaints and make sure of anonymity.
  • This is a key aspect in beginning engagement efforts. Some organizations use this as a tool for long time in order to create a healthy safety culture.

Allocate

  • Allocate loyal people as representatives and make sure that they are the reps.
  • Get relevant training which covers the soft skills they are in need of, also in health and safety.
  • It is better to improve health and safety in any organization while having informal chat with these reps.
  • Search for the proper skill set and credibility to your put efforts.
  • Also consider giving inducements / rewards (either financially or other way )

Ensure

  • The groups have enough managers and employee representatives.
  • Leadership in the top hierarchy is vital. Some senior managers may thing that being absent in any part of the beginning of meetings to make sure there is no intimation from speaking.

Communication is the key role for promoting WISH

Increased emphasis are supposed to be kept directly (face to face method), avoid writing in this as the detailed information are quite difficult to understand and take up and that too in the time of large workforce.

Opportunities for engagement using soft skills

  • In the time of annual appraisals
  • by recognition
  • by praise

Incentives to Involvement

  • Incentives for encouragement
  • Promotion
  • Allocated time for training and doing their roles and responsibilities properly in their work time.
  • Reduction of work hours of normal job
  • Employer financial incentives

Constantly the employers and employees are supposed to work together in organization and similarly the employee rep should address the health and safety issues at work environment.

The employees are to be consistently encouraged in order to make themselves involved in in health and safety activities at work place, they also must be offered with the opportunity of becoming employee representative and provide necessary guidance and support to play their role with more confident.

Mangers need relevant training and understanding on how to engage their employees and other benefits effectively

Positive culture is nothing but the workers has trust and they can ask question or give feedback about any health and safety issue which they face in their day to day in work life.

Make sure you are considering part time workers and shift workers whiling planning and implementing WISH.

You can also take your employees to any other organization where they practice WISH effectively.

WISH will not take place, if there is no genuine commitment in any work place.

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