The best worker safety and health protection occurs when everyone at the worksite shares responsibility for protection. Basic principles of excellence have shown that wise employers use employees' unique knowledge to help find problems and resolve them. In addition, no one else has as much at stake to avoid accidents as the employees who are likely to be injured. The more that employees are involved in a variety of safety-related activities, the more that they will appreciate the potential hazards that exist at the worksite, the more likely that they will avoid unsafe behaviors, and the more likely that the overall safety culture of the organization will strengthen. Without employees' involvement and cooperation, accidents are difficult to prevent.
What are the advantages of getting employees involved?
- Employees are the ones in contact with potential hazards and will have a vested interest.
- Group decisions have the advantage of the group's wider field of experience.
- Research shows that employees are more likely to support and use programs in which they have had input; employee buy-in for the needed changes is more likely.
- Employees who are encouraged to offer their ideas and whose contributions are taken seriously are more satisfied and productive.
- The more that employees are involved in the various facets of the program, the more they will learn about safety, what is causing injuries at their site, and how they can avoid be injured. The more they know and understand, the greater their awareness will be and the stronger the safety culture of the organization will become.
How can employees get involved?
- Participate on joint labor-management committees and other advisory groups.
- Conduct site inspections.
- Analyze routine hazards in each step of a job or process, and prepare safe work practices.
- Participate in developing and revising safety rules.
- Participate as trainers for current and new hires.
- Participate in accident/near miss incident investigations.
- Participate in decision making throughout the company's operations.
- Participate in pre-use and change analysis.
- Participate as safety observers and safety coaches.
- Report hazards and be involved in finding solutions to correct the problems.