SAFed Health and Safety Passport Scheme
Module 2 — Communications and Consultation in the
document forms one of a series of modules on various health and safety
subjects that comprise the examinable material considered necessary for the
award of the SAFed Health and Safety Passport.
you have studied this module you should have acquired sufficient knowledge to
be able to answer the questions detailed at the end of the module.
Upon satisfactory completion of all modules, you will be eligible to
undertake the final assessment for the award of the SAFed Health and Safety
SAFed Health and Safety Passport is issued to Engineer Surveyors by the Health
and Safety Manager of their employing company upon satisfactory completion of
the Safety Passport final assessment.
The award of the
SAFed Health and Safety Passport provides evidence that the holder of the
Passport has the appropriate knowledge and awareness in health and safety
matters considered necessary for an Engineer Surveyor to undertake the duties
for which they are authorised by their employing company.
The passport is
valid for a maximum of three years.
Having studied this module you
should have an awareness of:
relevant legislation associated with communication and consultation in the
and communication lines within the workplace.
role of Safety Representatives.
role of Health and Safety Inspectors.
Although there had been forms of
consultation in the mining industry since 1872, which were reinforced in the
Mines and Quarries Act 1954, it was not until the 1960’s that people were
voluntarily involved in joint safety committees. The Robens' Committee of 1970 looked closely at the
importance of communications and consultation between employer and employee in
the workplace and formal consultations started in the early 1970’s.
Section 2(4) of the Health and
Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 makes provision for the appointment of safety
representatives, by recognised trade unions, under regulations made by the
Secretary of State. These
regulations are the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations
1977, which are accompanied by an Approved Code of Practice and Guidance
In addition, there is a separate
Approved Code of Practice on Time off for the Training of Safety
The rights of none union members
were enforced by the Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees)
Regulations 1996 and the European Framework Directive 89/391/EEC. These established the rights of all employees to be consulted
on matters concerning their health and safety at work, whether or not they are
members of a union and allowed for the appointment of none union safety
Engineer surveyors are usually
home-based workers who have limited direct contact with their head office or
with their colleagues. It is therefore vitally important that they understand
the roles of responsibility within their company for health and safety matters
and that they are aware of communication routes for health and safety
information and concerns.
They should appreciate the role
and functions of their safety representatives, know who their representatives
are and how to contact them and have a basic knowledge of the role and powers
of HSE Inspectors.
Communications and Consultation in the Workplace
Responsibilities and Communication lines within the Workplace
The Managing Director of a
company has overall responsibility for health and safety within that company
and a duty to manage company policy and develop departmental policies.
He also has a responsibility to receive accident data, receive details
of trends in accidents to his employees and to implement the requirements of
existing and new legislation and the Enforcing Authority.
Line Managers have direct
responsibility for the health and safety of their staff.
These responsibilities include dealing with and investigating any work
related health and safety matters raised by their staff, provision of training
and monitoring of safety performance.
All employees are responsible to
their immediate supervisor for their daily work activities relating to health
and safety matters, which includes taking care of themselves and others who
may be affected by their activities at work.
They are also required to comply with all statutory legislation and
company procedures relating to health and safety.
Communications relating to
health and safety matters within a company are of vital importance. Management
needs both to give information to employees and to receive information from
them and effective arrangements should be in place to facilitate this two-way
The most important method of
communication is by word of mouth, through personal contact between each
manager and his immediate workgroup or individual employees, and between
managers and employee representatives. Personal
contact should be supplemented as necessary by written information through,
for example, notice boards, databases, e-mails or company journals.
Training, especially induction courses for new employees, and meetings
arranged for special purposes are also means of instructing in health and
safety matters and for exchange of views and information.
Management also has a
responsibility to disclose information on the company’s health and safety
performance and this should include accident details and data and minutes of
health and safety meetings.
They are also required to
provide training, information or supervision where necessary on all work
equipment and safe working procedures.
The Role of Safety Representatives
Safety representatives are
usually selected from persons who have at least two years experience with
their employer or in similar employment, although this is not a mandatory
requirement. The employer must
give the representative time off with pay for the purpose of carrying out his
/ her functions as a safety representative and for attending relevant training
The main function of a safety
representative is to represent the employees in health and safety
consultations with the employer. Other
functions include attending meetings of the safety committee, assisting in
investigations into the cause of accidents, carrying out safety inspections of
the workplace, investigation of potential hazards in the workplace and
receiving information from health and safety inspectors.
Safety representatives also have
the right to receive relevant information from the employer relating to health
and safety matters within the workplace.
For example, accident records and details of hazards.
Complaints against the employer
concerning refusal to provide, or allow time off for, training and for not
paying for that time off are heard by an Industrial Tribunal.
The Role of Health and Safety Executive Inspectors
Enforcement of health and safety
legislation is carried out by HSE inspectors who are authorised by a written
warrant outlining the powers they may exercise. An inspector must produce his warrant on request; without it
he has no powers of enforcement.
A HSE inspector has the
right to enter a premises and if resisted enlist the help of a police officer.
inspect the premises.
require, following an accident, that the plant is not disturbed.
measurements and photographs.
samples of suspect substances.
require tests to be carried out on suspect plant or substances.
require the dismantling of plant.
require that those with possible knowledge relevant to his investigation to
give it either verbally or in a written statement.
right to inspect and take copies of books or documents required to be kept by
safety or other legislation as part of his investigation.
If an inspector is of the
opinion that a breach has occurred, or is likely to occur, he may serve an
IMPROVEMENT NOTICE on the employer or workmen.
The notice must state which statutory provision the inspector believes
has been contravened and the time limit in which the matter should be put
If the activity involves
immediate risk of serious personal injury, the inspector may serve a
PROHIBITION NOTICE requiring immediate cessation of the activity.
The notice must state what, in the opinion of the inspector, is the
cause of the risk and any possible contravention. If the risk is great, but not immediate, a DEFERRED
PROHIBITION NOTICE may be served stating a date after which the activity must
cease unless the matter has been remedied.
Appeals against a notice may be
made to an Industrial Tribunal.
It is an offence to ignore an
HSE inspector’s notice, to obstruct an inspector, to make false statements or
to pretend to be an inspector.
End of module and next steps
By reaching this point you will have finished studying this particular
module. You should now have
sufficient knowledge to answer the questions contained at the end of the module.
the questions should be forwarded to your Health and Safety Manager.
Provided that you have answered the questions correctly, your Health and Safety Manager will forward to you your next self study module.
To answer Module 2 Questions Click here