10 tips to promote workforce participation for ISO 45001 health & safety

Under the new ISO 45001 standard, you can't simply tell your workforce what the health and safety processes and procedures are and hope they'll stick. 


Consultation is not engaging enough - you must demonstrate the workforce is actively participating in health and safety improvement. 

This means employees must take ownership, challenge and actively participate in improving health and safety and the OHSMS. 

But in most organisations it won't work to simply say: "For ISO 45001, I need you to participate in improving health and safety."

So here are ten creative tips we picked up during the ISO 45001 event last week which other organisations are using to improve health and safety participation. 

Find all of the event presentations and videos: https://quality.eqms.co.uk/iso-45001-resources 


1) Establish a team of health and safety ambassadors

Who doesn't want to be an ambassador?

EPC Groupe has a team of health and safety ambassadors who are responsible for telling top level management what's health and safety risks, opportunities and ideas for improvement.

This team are volunteers and get to attend various meetings at hotels throughout the year. 


ISO 45001 x800 (002)2

2) Provide whistle-blowing tools 

Perhaps an employee saw someone driving carelessly around a company car park or is concerned about the safety of their working equipment - it can be very difficult to raise these issues to management.

Time, overly bureaucratic processes, and sometimes a lack of confidence can prevent the right person receiving the information. 

ISO 45001 Kate hurdles

Kiosk by Qualsys gives employees digital forms which can be completed anonymously and sent directly to the central management system.

Configure the forms to capture the fields you want. 

More on Kiosk here: https://qualsys.wistia.com/medias/drwbg16ejr 




3) Host health and safety back to work event

We can all feel a bit tired and sluggish when we return to work in January after Christmas and New Year celebrations. This can pose serious health and safety risks. 

EPC Groupe gets everyone back in the health and safety-first mindset by making the first working day of the new year all about health and safety. 

Arrange an internal health and safety training event (or get Qualsys to do this for you) - with presentations, workshops, case studies, and a clear focus on collecting ideas.  

ISO 45001 event Kate


4) Show, don't tell 

The consequences of not looking after your own health and safety can be visually shocking. Alistair Gibb uses props - a fake hand with dermatitis to start the conversation about looking after health and safety on construction sites.   


5) Ask people affected by an OHS illness / injury to do a presentation 

It can be very powerful to hear stories from people affected by occupational illnesses and injuries. Many charities, Facebook groups and local health services can help you to find speakers who are keen to share their message.  


6) Cater to different learning styles 

Health and safety training can class as worker participation - if done properly.

Most people learn best in blended environments - meaning they prefer a mixture of both social and solitary, verbal and aural, logical and visual styles. 

Kate Armitage, Head of Quality Assurance at Qualsys recommends asking employees to teach each other about a specific topic and getting them to provide ideas on how the business can improve health and safety. 

ISO 45001 Kate culture

7) Consider who is involved in the policy and SOP process

Kaye Eames, Training Manager at Qualsys, said:

"EQMS makes health and safety more accessible. You can choose who is involved in reviewing documentation, audit checklists, training records, risk assessments, and procedures. You can be really clever and involve a random sample of people. This is a really powerful tool to get your workforce participating in health and safety improvement initiatives." 


8) Take part in the World Day for Safety and Health at Work

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) marks its World Day for Safety and Health at Work on or around 28th April each year. They have workshops, templates and tools on their website you can use to take part. 

ISO 45001 event

9) Competitions 

One of the key rules of driving any behavioural change is to always ask "WIIFM?" (What's in it for me?").

EPC Groupe awards the best health and safety improvement suggestion in the year with a gift. This could be a day off work or an iPad. 

Don't be afraid to offer incentives to encourage worker participation. 


10) Kiosk for employee well-being suggestions 

If you're using EQMS, you can easily add Kiosk to your management system tool stack.

These forms can be configured to capture ideas on how to improve the health, well-being and safety from employees across the business. 


What to do now: 

Download the ISO 45001 toolkit for expert health and safety presentations, ISO 45001 videos and more. 

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Topics: ISO 45001, Health & Safety

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