In the later part of 2017, the Charter team met with the Canterbury Labour Hire Safety Forum. The purpose of the session was to share more about what it means to be a Charter signatory and what their labour on hire (LOH) workers can expect when placed with one. We also explored how the Charter can support LOH businesses to improve health and safety outcomes and LOH workers to have a more genuine voice in health and safety.
We started with a conversation about the Charter Values – we care for people, we want to improve, we help each other, we walk the talk. By signing up to the Charter, our signatories commit to demonstrate these values across their business – including how they deal with issues around health and safety.
We explained that the Charter can best support LOH businesses by welcoming them as Charter signatories and working together to improve in all areas of health and safety.
We talked about employee engagement and recognised that recruitment consultants work in a difficult space in terms of engaging employees in meaningful ways. Two things tend to drive workers not to be engaged – fear and futility. For LOH workers, this could mean fear of being able to secure work if seen as the troublemaker, or for LOH workers who are also migrants, fear that their visa will be blocked.
While there is no magic wand for changing these kinds of attitudes, we encourage our signatories to keep delivering the message that we want workers at all levels to speak up and provide them opportunities to do so – even reward people for doing so! We also want construction leaders to get out on site and listen to their workers – talk to them about what’s going well on site, what they’ve seen that causes them concerns for safety and what might improve site safety. Language and cultural barriers need to be considered to ensure workers understand the safety requirements. This means that they can tell you about them!