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Worker Participation

Every effective safety and health program includes three key components:

  • Management leadership
  • Worker participation
  • A systematic approach to finding and fixing workplace hazards

This section discusses the role of worker participation in safety and health programs.

What Is It?

Effective safety and health programs tap into workers' collective experience, knowledge, and insight in order to find solutions to workplace safety and health challenges.

Why Is It Important?

Workers often know the most about potential hazards associated with their jobs. When they are involved in finding solutions, they feel invested in the program. To maximize participation, however, workers must feel free of any fear of retaliation or discrimination (e.g., for reporting an injury or hazardous conditions).

Examples

Workers can participate in many ways, including:

  • Developing the initial program design.
  • Reporting incidents (including near misses) so they can be investigated.
  • Analyzing hazards associated with routine and nonroutine jobs, tasks, and processes.
  • Defining and documenting safe work practices.
  • Conducting site inspections and incident investigations.
  • Training current coworkers and new hires.
  • Evaluating program performance and identifying ways to improve it.

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