Four Steps to Achieve Effective Consultation for Managers and Supervisors
Managers and Supervisors do have a very important role to play in helping to achieve compliance with WHS legal requirements and a safe and healthy workplace. See previous article “Why Managers and Supervisors Have a Vital Role in WHS Compliance”
A key part of this role involves the area of consultation with workers and others in your workplace about WHS which is a very worthwhile and satisfying process. Consultation for Managers and Supervisors is a two way process between themselves and the workers that they are responsible for, including anyone who could be affected by the activities in their area of control.
How to Consult
Effective Consultation between Managers, Supervisors, Workers and Others involves four steps, which are:
Talk to each other about health and safety concerns
Listen to concerns and raise concerns
Seek and share views and relevant work health and safety information
Consider what workers and others say and give them a reasonable opportunity to contribute to the decision making process
These four steps should be used in any consultation situation.
When You Should Consult
You are required by the WHS Act to consult with workers and others when any of the following occur:
When identifying and assessing health and safety risks in your workplace
When making decisions about how to eliminate or minimise those risks
When making decisions about facilities for the welfare of workers
When proposing changes that may affect the health and safety of workers
When making decisions about:
- procedures for consulting with workers
- resolving health and safety issues
- monitoring the health of your workers
- monitoring conditions at the workplace
- providing information and training for workers
Your consultation efforts will be helped by encouraging workers in your area of responsibility to:
Ask questions about health and safety
Raise concerns and report problems
Make safety recommendations
Be part of the problem solving process
Consultation Arrangements under the Act
The above four steps should be used in any of the three methods of consultation set out in the WHS Act that you may be using, see diagram below.
In a small workplace where workers can directly approach the business owner or senior management ‘Other agreed arrangements’ may be appropriate, but where a workplace has a medium or larger workforce more formalized consultation methods may need to be established, such as committees and HSRs. A HSR represents the health and safety concerns of their workgroup. Committees provide a central co-ordination point for consultation and other health and safety matters in the workplace.
Whatever method is used the four steps given above should be used by Managers and Supervisors
You may find other useful information on this subject in the Consultation, Cooperation and Coordination Code of Practice.
The subject of consultation and what should be done about it is covered in full in the following courses conducted by Courtenell: