Communication is of the utmost importance when it comes to occupational health and safety. In an ideal situation, there will be a constant give and take between company leaders and frontline employees about safety policies and practices.
Do employers have to co-operate and consult with employees on health and safety matters? Technically, they don’t have to consult or seek feedback as long as safety rules are properly enforced. But let’s look at some of the reasons why employers should actively seek feedback from employees before making any meaningful decisions about workplace health and safety.
They Are on the Front Lines
If you really want to know what’s going on, you have to speak to the employees who are on the front lines. These workers will often have the best insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the company when it comes to workplace safety. They will know about problem areas and what the business can improve. If the company is considering changes to safety rules or procedures, it’s usually a good idea to discuss those changes with frontline workers before implementing them. After all, rule changes will have the biggest impact on those employees, so they should be told about them beforehand and offer feedback so that they aren’t caught off guard and can work out any problems.
It Makes Them Feel Valued
When companies actively seek feedback from employees, it helps workers feel valued by the company. This can help to build a positive relationship between employee and employer. Workers want to feel like they are important to the company and contribute in a variety of ways. When companies go out of their way to ask employees for feedback, they are more likely to have a positive impression of the company.
It Builds Trust
Trust is a huge factor in workplace health and safety. If employees know that their employer is looking out for their best interest, they will trust and follow the safety procedures in place. By making an effort to get employee feedback, companies are opening the lines of communication, which helps to build trust. When that trust is in place, workers will start to be more proactive in letting employers know about safety problems because they trust that company leaders will take them seriously.
Gauge Employee Attitudes
The more company leaders talk to their workers, the more they can take the temperature of their staff. They can learn about whether employees are satisfied with what the company is doing to create a safe work environment. They can learn if employees are taking workplace safety seriously and if employees feel safe every time they come to work. All of this information is important in assessing workplace safety and any potential changes that might need to be made.
Proactive Beats Reactive
The bottom line is that it’s better to be proactive as opposed to reactive when it comes to workplace safety. The worst thing you can do is wait for something to go wrong like an accident or an injury before doing something. On the other hand, seeking employee feedback can help you understand flaws and changes that need to be made before they lead to an accident. Ultimately, it’s all about gathering as much information as possible, which is perhaps the best reason to seek employee feedback on safety topics.
Use Software to Help Communicate
One way to help companies communicate with employees and get their feedback is to use a safety management system. For instance, the software solutions offered by EHS Insight can help with everything from hazard identification to communication to compliance. Our system puts every element of workplace health and safety on one platform, making everything easier to monitor and manage, leading to a safer workplace.
If you’re open to getting a little help in creating a safer workplace, let us know because we’d be happy to be your partner in safety.