Worker participation and engagement

In March 2024, Health and Safety3 MinutesBy Kaye ByrneApril 14, 2024

When drivers or workers are engaged in health and safety, everyone benefits.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 provides a robust framework for employee participation or engagement. Worker participation or engagement involves talking to your team and having meaningful and relevant discussions about health and safety. These talks could be discussions concerning changes, development and/or training, incidents, trending topics or just a chat about how everyone is feeling. This is an ongoing process.

Your front-line workers are your eyes and ears; their health and safety observations are extremely valid and important to run a successful organisation. In addition to building a strong health and safety culture, this validates that the drivers are appreciated and all health and safety matters they bring to the table are heard and taken seriously.

How to promote engagement

Engage and discuss matters relating to health and safety with employees who are directly affected. Unfortunately, drivers are often most at risk but often the most underrepresented workers in an organisation.

Ensure worker participation is more formal and allow employees to participate effectively in improving health and safety. A safety committee is a formal way of participating in health and safety matters. It is a simple compliance forum where employees can participate and improve their organisation’s health and safety management.

Participation should align with employees and the organisation. If the organisation is small, all drivers can possibly participate in the health and safety meetings. However, if the organisation is large, it could be an option for a representative from each department to attend health and safety meetings. This may mean that once a month, when the meetings take place, the driver’s representative might start later on the road or finish earlier on the road so that he/she can attend the meeting and represent all the drivers.

The organisation should engage and consult with workers who are directly affected by matters relating to health and safety, such as hazards, decision-making concerning PPE, work conditions, training, procedures and policies. Most importantly, any proposed changes that affect the health and safety of the drivers day to day need to be discussed openly and respectfully.

Worker engagement is essential to keep your workplace safe and healthy. The organisations with the best health and safety outcomes are the organisations where the PCBU and employees/drivers work together on all matters relating to health and safety.