Prior to 2012, in our experience of workplaces with 50 or more employees, workplace consultation with workers was mainly carried out by means of OHS Committees and their members.
Over 3 years have passed since the WHS Act became law. We thought it could be informative and useful to survey and review how workplaces are currently consulting with workers as required under the WHS Act.
Consultation under the WHS Act
Under the WHS Act, PCBUs and workers can use one or more of 3 methods to consult with workers. These 3 methods are shown in our info graphic below. More data can be found in our 2012 article How to Consult with Workers.
Each circle represents a method that can be used alone or together with the other methods, to satisfy the consultation requirements in the WHS Act.
The WHS Consultation Picture in 2015
The results of our review show that the option of HSRs in the WHS Act has changed the consultation picture that existed prior to 2012. We surveyed 30 organisations with 50 more workers across a range of industries to obtain these results. That is too small a sample to make definite conclusions about all NSW workplaces. However, based on our experience with clients since 2012 we consider that these results are probably a reasonable reflection of the change that has taken place in the methods of consultation.
No organisation with 50 or more workers that we surveyed uses Other Agreed Arrangements only.
The workplaces that we surveyed appear to have put in a good deal of constructive consideration and action into using the consultation options to arrive at the best ways to achieve WHS consultation, taking into account the size, type of operations, and locations, of their workplaces.
The Code of Practice: WHS Consultation, Co-operation & Co-ordination, Appendix A page 21, has 2 useful examples of consultation arrangements. One example is in a workplace of 7 employees and the other example is a workplace of 200 employees.
You are welcome to download and distribute the article in
your workplace if you feel it may be useful