You may have noticed that there appears to be a new swell of interest and articles about safety culture and leadership. Improvements in safety culture are always welcome because they lift the level of health and safety in the workplace.
You may not expect to find wise words in the WHS Act that can help to improve safety culture but they are there. This article explains one section where you can find those wise words and how Managers and Supervisors can comply with a legal requirement that will help improve safety culture and also improve the general level of relations in the workplace.
Actions that Managers and Supervisors Can Take
Consultation with workers is a legal requirement covered by sections 46-49 of the WHS Act.
But the process of workplace consultation is most effective when carried out in a manner that genuinely demonstrates that management does care and does want to know and does respect the views of the workers.
Consultation that is genuine, warm and conducted with high intention will greatly improve your prospects of achieving valuable interaction, cooperation and the improvement of safety culture.
If you add your best people-handling skills and care for others on to the consulting requirements of sections 46 and 47 of the WHS Act, you will have a potent list of actions to use as set out below:
- Consult with all workers who are or might be directly affected by a matter related to health or safety in your workplace
- If workers are represented by a Health and Safety Representative, or a Health and Safety Committee member, then you must involve them in the consultation
- Conduct the consultation in a manner that makes it real to workers that you genuinely do care about their health and safety
- Willingly share any relevant information about the matter with those workers
- Give them ample opportunity to express their views and to raise any health and safety issues
- Make it easy for them to contribute to the decision-making process about the matter
- Take the views of the workers into account in the decision-making process
- Keep the workers informed on the progress of the matter and the outcomes of the consultation in a timely manner
You may find it useful to also read our January 2017 article about how to improve worker involvement, "Improving Worker Involvement in WHS Compliance". Click here.
Click on the links below to download the course outlines:
WHS Risk Management for Supervisors and Managers
WHS Responsibilities for Supervisors and Managers