Workers’ Safety Adviser (WSA) challenge fund evaluation
The Workers’ Safety Adviser (WSA) Challenge Fund was launched on 26 March 2004 and closed in March 2007.
The aim of the fund was to inspire organisations to collaborate on projects that encourage and promote employees and their employers to work together to drive improvements in managing health and safety. The scheme focused on small businesses and organizations that lacked such arrangements.
The aim of our work was to evaluate multiple projects each year to:
Assess the impact of each project and all the projects as a whole on health and safety in the workplace;
Assess the cost/benefit impacts on accident rates;
Assess the process by which each partnership (e.g. trade union and trade association) works together to recruit and support greater worker involvement in health and safety in small workplaces;
Assess the overall value for money of the Challenge Fund, e.g. does it help lever in additional time and money, does it build capacity, etc.
Findings from the evaluation indicted there were improvements in worker involvement and health and safety. These findings reinforced the validity of the quantitative findings and strongly suggested that positive changes occurred following WSA intervention. The funding cost per workplace was about £1000 each. It was recommended that a follow up survey was completed of the workplaces to explore whether the reported increases in worker involvement (and reported reductions in absence and injury) was sustained after completion of the WSA visits.
The evaluation report contributed to a ministerial submission on initiatives to improve health and safety in the workplace. The lessons learnt are being applied to the HSE’s mainstream work.