Worker safety adviser pilot scheme goes to York

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Health and Safety Commission Chair Bill Callaghan announced that the Health and Safety Executive has awarded a contract to run its Worker Safety Adviser (WSA) pilot scheme to York Consulting of Leeds. This is a step to developing consultation and partnership over health and safety in the workplace.

The scheme will introduce specially trained safety advisers to workplaces that do not currently have safety representatives. The advisers' role will be to liaise with management and the workforce over safety issues on site - and advise them where there needs to be improvement. They will also look to promote discussion and consultation between employers and workers over health and safety issues so that more sustainable improvement can be made.

York Consulting will run the pilot scheme over the next 18 months. The scheme will cover the retail, hospitality, voluntary, construction and automotive/fabrication sectors. Pre- and post- visit surveys will be carried out to assess the advisers' effectiveness in raising health and safety standards.

The pilots will take place in a cross-section of cities and towns across Great Britain and the safety advisers should be operating by November this year. Between now and then the selected advisers will be undertaking a specially designed training course to make sure they have the full range of personal and health and safety competences."

Commenting on the pilots, Mr Callaghan said: " There is strong evidence that workplace-based safety representatives make a positive contribution to improving health and safety standards. We need to know whether similar expertise can help to improve employee consultation and health and safety at workplaces that do not currently enjoy the benefits of safety reps.

"The key to good health and safety is a partnership approach. This means good dialogue between managers and workers - and consultation with workers and their representatives over all issues that affect their health and safety. The pilots will be entirely voluntary and reliant on the active co-operation of all those involved. I very much hope that those employers who are approached to participate in the scheme will recognise it as a positive initiative that has the potential to bring business benefits."

Mr Callaghan concluded: "The pilots are a key element of the package of measures we have agreed with Ministers to improve employers' consultation with workers on health and safety matters. I look forward to receiving the results."

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