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Worker participation in OHS management

Worker participation is a winning condition for effective occupational health and safety (OHS) management. OHS management is a responsibility shared by both employers and workers, who cooperate to eliminate risks. 

The employer must demonstrate its commitment and adopt a prevention strategy, for example by supervising, training and appropriately equipping its workers. Workers have experience with the risks in the workplace and can propose solutions. 

The objective is to create a culture of cooperation, openness and respect when it comes to occupational health and safety, where ideas and solutions are freely shared and implemented in order to establish a safe work environment and respond to the concerns raised. 

Did you know?

The employer must organize activities that allow employees to:

To this end, the employer must provide workers with the necessary resources and time. 

Getting workers to participate in the application of safe behaviours and OHS rules is easier when they can participate in the prevention strategy.

How to foster worker participation

To identify, correct and control risks and foster worker participation in occupational health and safety management, the employer can implement the following 3 prevention mechanisms: 

Regardless of the priority group or sector of activity to which they belong, all employers are invited to implement these prevention mechanisms and to sollicit the participation of their workers.

How to foster effective worker participation

Here are some examples of what an employer and its workers can do.

Employer

To foster worker participation, the employer can:

  • integrate health and safety aspects into each worker’s role or task description
  • consult workers and have them participate in the evaluation of risks associated with their tasks
  • encourage workers and provide them with the tools needed to suggest improvements to health and safety
  • consult workers and include them and their representatives in the development of instructions, procedures and policies and in the process of change, before preventive measures are adopted 
  • have workers participate in selecting tools, equipment and PPE before purchasing them
  • test solutions with workers before implementing them and get their feedback 
  • break down the annual action plan or prevention program into several small steps
  • ask workers to facilitate a safety meeting
  • have workers write articles on OHS in the company’s newsletter
  • ask a worker to train new recruits
  • invite workers to take part in workplace inspections
  • gather workers’ ideas for solving OHS problems, for example by making suggestion boxes available
  • include subjects relating to OHS in team meetings
  • include OHS meetings in the work schedule 
  • recognize contributions and offer incentives to participate in OHS activities
Workers

To take part in occupational health and safety management, workers can:

  • ask questions, report problems and make suggestions to their supervisors or coordinators at group meetings, team discussions, training sessions or individual meetings 
  • take part in consultation activities, for example investigations, suggestion systems or contests involving safety issues
  • take part in tests and activities relating to occupational health and safety issues such as working groups or selecting PPE 
  • report any accidents, near misses and other risks to workers’ health or safety and suggest improvements
  • talk with their representative and take part in occupational health and safety activities (meetings, investigations, breaks, etc.)
  • help draft the occupational health and safety section in the company’s newsletter
  • apply the knowledge they acquired during training to their tasks
  • be a model for new recruits and help them with occupational health and safety aspects
  • take care of their health and ensure their own safety and that of others
  • cooperate actively with the employer on occupational health and safety matters
  • follow instructions given during training to work safely and properly use equipment, tools and hazardous substances or materials
  • report any risk to the health and safety of a worker (to the employer, a supervisor or the employee representative) associated with an activity or any safety measure that appears to be inadequate
  • ask questions about their tasks when they see a risk to their safety
  • validate every new work method with the employer in order to assess the risks and eliminate them at the source

 

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