What your employer should do to help manage change

Last updated: 05 Mar 2020

UK health and safety law places duties on employers and workers to promote and ensure health, safety and wellbeing at work. Most of the responsibility lies with the employer but employees also have responsibilities. The law expects people creating and working with danger to cooperate and collaborate to manage risk.

The Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations are intended to enable workers to participate in employers’ promotion of health and safety. It spells out employer duties to provide information and to consult; and empowers recognised trade union “safety reps” to access to information and contact with the employer so they may cooperate.

Employers must disclose information if it will have an effect on workers health or safety – including plans for change, such as new technologies or ways of working – so that the workforce can have a say in shaping that change.

Your employer must consult in good time. Good time is not defined. However, it means allowing time before decisions are made for employees to receive, digest and understand the proposals, explain and consider them with their constituents and get back to their employer with an informed response. In union organised work places, this will usually be done by workplace reps.

A good employer will take note and discuss their response, so that health and safety risk control measures are jointly developed and agreed. After all, they are then far more likely to be adopted and followed.

It is worth making sure your employer knows their consultation duties. Ignorance is no excuse and may undermine the health and safety of you and your members and the proactivity of the Union.

Get help

If you have further questions about this contact us for more help.