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Worker Consultation & Participation

According to the ISO 45001:2018 standard (clause no. 5.4); to be effective, any health and safety management system needs the meaningful participation of its workers. As only workers know the most about the potential hazards associated with their jobs.

Furthermore, worker participation is also helpful to get ideas and perspectives from workers to enhance organizational performance with regards to its working environment and service quality.

Therefore, it is essential to have a mechanism to ensure that all workers (including subcontractors) actively participate and contribute to Company’s Management Systems.

The following list is recommended to ensure the effective participation of workers towards enhancing the performance of the Company’s Management Systems and through the Company itself.

1. Encourage worker participation

Encourage worker participation, which conveys the message that the Management really values their workers’ inputs and involvement, by;

  • Providing the necessary time and resources
  • Maintaining an open-door policy, that invites workers to talk to managers about health and safety, environment and quality issues, and any other general suggestions they may have
  • Recognizing worker contribution to the Company’s Health & Safety Management System, for example a “Best Safe Work Performer” award.

2. Enable reporting on issues/concerns

Encourage workers to report shortcomings, such as workplace hazards, unsafe conditions, near misses, incidents, and environment and quality issues, by;

  • Establishing a process for workers to report injuries, illnesses, near misses, hazards, and other environment and quality concerns
  • Empowering all workers to request a temporary suspension/shut down of any work activity, that they believe to be unsafe
  • Emphasizing that Management will only use reported information to improve organizational performance, and not to penalize workers who submit such reports

3. Access to health and safety information

Share relevant health & safety information with workers, which fosters trust and helps enhance health & safety performance, by;

  • Providing information that they need to understand the Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) of all aspects of their workplace as well as the control measures in place to protect them from any foreseeable danger.
  • Providing specific types of information available to workers, such as (Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), details of incidents, results of incident investigations, etc.)

4. Worker involvement in all steps of the Plan-Do-Check-Adjust (PDCA) Management System

Include worker input at every step of the management process (planning, implementation, checking and action or adjustment), ensuring sustainable improvements in process efficiency and worker performance, by;

  • Providing opportunities for workers to participate in all steps of the implementation and maintenance of Management Systems (Setting objectives, identifying and eliminating hazards, conducting inspections, investigating incidents, etc.)

5. Remove barriers to participation

Take actions to eliminate barriers, which could refrain workers from active participation and contribution to the Company Management Systems by;

  • Ensuring workers from all levels of the organization can participate regardless of their skill level, education, or language
  • Providing frequent and regular feedback to show employees, that their concerns are being heard and addressed

Content Submitted by: Fahim Mohamed

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