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Why employees need to speak up on health and safety

Employers are always keen to ensure that disgruntled employees do not upset the ambiance of a working environment and those who do speak up are sometimes singled out as troublemakers.

However, a new report in the US has suggested organisations that do not encourage their staff to air their views could start to see health and safety standards slide.

In its latest Professional Safety journal, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) revealed just how important it is for dissenting voices to draw people's attention to poor or dangerous working practices.

Although it is ultimately down to managers to ensure that safety laws are being followed, organisations such as the UK's Health and Safety Executive are always keen to stress that everyone within a workplace must do their bit to ensure everyone remains safe.

Author of the ASSE article Dave Rebbitt said it is vital that safety issues raised by staff are not swept under the carpet.

He wrote: "Any safety person has been placed in a situation where you have to say 'I don't think what you're doing is right'.

"It's really hard to sound the alarm. How and when [you inform bosses of a problem] is as important as what you have to say."

With this in mind, it is perhaps time for businesses to assess what sort of workplace culture they currently have. Are staff told to remain silent or do you take their views seriously?

Mr Rebbitt suggested that companies often fall under two categories. They are either a Hierarchical Bureaucratic Organisation or they have a Dual Authority Matrix Structure.

In his opinion, enterprises that adopt the latter strategy generally have a better health and safety record, as employees are able to speak up when they think something is dangerous.

UK-based organisations seem to be heading in the right direction and this is why the country has one of the best health and safety records in Europe. That said, it is fair to assume that some British businesses still need to make it easier for employees to share their opinions.ADNFCR-3406-ID-801574151-ADNFCR

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