Employee involvement provides the means through which workers develop and express their own commitment to safety and health, for both themselves and their fellow workers.
We at OSHA are aware that the growing recognition of the value of employee involvement and the increasing number and variety of employee participation arrangements can raise legal concerns. It makes good sense to consult your labor relations advisor to ensure that your employee involvement program conforms to current legal requirements.
Why should employees be involved?
Because it's the right and smart thing to do. Here's why:
- Rank and file workers are the persons most in contact with potential safety and health hazards. They have a vested interest in effective protection programs.
- Group decisions have the advantage of the group’s wider range of experience.
- Employees are more likely to support and use programs in which they have input.
Employees who are encouraged to offer their ideas and whose contributions are taken seriously are more satisfied and productive on the job.
What can employees do to be involved?
Examples of employee participation include:
- Participating on joint labor-management committees and other advisory or specific purpose committees.
- Conducting site inspections.
- Analyzing routine hazards in each step of a job or process, and preparing safe work practices or controls to eliminate or reduce exposure.
- Developing and revising the site safety and health rules.
- Training both current and newly hired employees.
- Providing programs and presentations at safety and health meetings.
- Conducting accident/incident investigations.
- Reporting hazards.
- Fixing hazards within your control.
- Supporting your fellow workers by providing feedback on risks and assisting them in eliminating hazards.
- Participating in accident/incident investigations.
- Performing a pre-use or change analysis for new equipment or processes in order to identify hazards up front before use.
For more information on workers' rights and responsibilities, see OSHA's Workers' Page.