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The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), on behalf of the Health and Safety Commission (HSC), today issued a consulta...
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), on behalf of the Health and Safety Commission (HSC), today issued a consultative document to seek views on how to encourage, improve and increase worker involvement in health and safety risk management.

Involving workers is a key theme of HSC's strategy and both the Commission and the Executive are committed to improving the quantity and quality of workers' participation in managing health and safety at work.

'Workers know the most about the jobs they do, so they are often in the best position to develop safe and practical systems of work,' confirms Geoffrey Podger, Chief Executive of HSE, 'Effective worker involvement can reduce accidents and ill health. It is fundamental to ensuring the success of all other interventions on health and safety. It is important, therefore, that we actively encourage and support organisations to involve their workers.'

The consultative document suggests that there are three pillars to the strategy to increase workers' participation in managing health and safety: legislation; guidance and encouragement. It sets out the current position and options to strengthen each of the pillars, including possible amendments to the law on consultation with employees. It invites comments on these options and any new ideas that have not been considered.

'We want this consultation to gather as many views as possible,' says Zoe Woodrow, Policy Adviser with HSE's Worker Involvement Programme. 'Both workers and employers are instrumental in making involvement successful. So we want to know what managers, workers and their representatives think. We have suggested some options but we would welcome other ideas, too.'

To encourage as many people as possible to participate in the consultation, HSE is also publishing a summary document to introduce the issues involved, as well as organising a number of regional meetings to encourage people to share and discuss their views.

'The feedback we receive will help us to make the right decisions about how we focus our efforts in this important area,' continues Zoe Woodrow, 'we recognise that people's time is limited, which is why we have also published a summary document. We hope that as many people as possible will take a look at the documents and let us know what they think.'

The consultation is open to 8 September 2006.

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