For so long now, the burden of providing a safe working environment has lain on the shoulders of a company and its management. Health and safety standards are becoming stricter and more steps are being taken to prevent workplace accidents from happening.

In recent years, however, employees – the workers who are actually interacting with the work environment – have become more involved in maintaining sufficient levels of safety. Studies compiled by the Health and Safety Executive show better training and higher employee engagement in health and safety programs. There are a few reasons why this shift is a great thing.

Better Employee Participation = Fewer Accidents

Employees have always been the leading edge of health and safety implementation. In the old days, employees were given internal training on HSE policies and how to follow those policies to the letter. While this worked to a certain degree, employees weren’t really involved in the process of maintaining these health and safety standards.

Today, the process is reversed. Instead of asking employees to follow a certain set of rules, companies are beginning to get employees involved earlier in the process. Key employees with deep knowledge of the working environment can now influence workplace HSE policies.

The impact of this shift is tremendous. Accidents in companies whose employees are actively engaged in maintaining health and safety standards are up to 90% lower compared to companies that enforce their HSE policies on to workers. It really shows how a simple shift in paradigm can really influence the entire working environment for the better.

More Training for Employees

It is also important to note that health and safety training is no longer only about the policies. Sure, employees need to know the right procedures and the steps to take when faced with certain challenges. However, it is also better to equip employees with real skills related to health and safety.

More employees are voluntarily signing up for first aid training courses than ever before. Companies only need to provide the training and employees can choose to participate in courses. Engaged employees also suggest the kind of training that will be useful in their workplace and beyond.

The latter part is also important. Health and safety training for employees is no longer designed solely to protect them at work. Skills like first aid are useful in everyday situations too. This is part of the reasons why employees are more willing to take the training courses they find useful.

A Step in the Right Direction

All stakeholders must be involved for a truly safe working environment to be created and maintained. The increase in employee engagement when it comes to health and safety in the workplace is a definite step towards the right direction.

It is now up to the big corporations to further stimulate employee involvement and gain support from other stakeholders. More changes are coming and getting employees involved in shaping those changes is the best way to ensure maximum safety in the workplace. After all, a safe workplace is a productive workplace.

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