Are You Meeting Your WHS Consultation Duties?
Weekly WHS Article 17th August 2023
It is the PCBU at your workplace who has the duty to consult, so far as reasonably practicable, with workers who carry out work at the PCBU’s workplace.
And the latest good news is that on the 10th of August 2023, Safe Work Australia published and released “an updated WHS consultation checklist to comprehensively reflect WHS duties and better support duty holders’ understanding of the requirements.
If you’re a PCBU, you must consult with workers (and any health and safety representatives) and other duty holders to manage WHS risks. This checklist will help you to ensure you have arrangements in place that support effective consultation.” (Ref 1)
The Importance of Effective Consultation
“A safe workplace is more easily achieved when everyone involved in the work communicates with each other to identify both physical and psychosocial hazards and risks, talks about health and safety concerns and works together to find solutions. This includes cooperation between duty holders, the people who manage or control the work and those who carry out the work or who are affected by the work.
By drawing on the knowledge and experience of their workers, PCBUs can make more informed decisions about how the work should be carried out safely. Effective health and safety consultation also has other benefits:
greater awareness and commitment—because workers who have been actively involved in how health and safety decisions are made will better understand the decisions
positive working relationships—because understanding the views of others leads to greater cooperation and trust. In situations where a PCBU shares responsibility for health and safety with another person, the requirement to consult, cooperate and coordinate activities with other duty holders will help address gaps in managing health and safety risks...” (Ref 2)
Do you have a checklist for your consultation duties and effective consultation?
A checklist could serve you well in checking and perhaps identifying how to improve your system of WHS consultation.
You can download Safe Work Australia’s checklist from the resources section of Safe Work Australia’s website (Ref 3).
This checklist is a comprehensive and easy to use tool with easy to understand references that Safe Work Australia has included. We recommend that the PCBU should gather together all those employees or other persons who should be engaging in WHS consultation in the workplace to meet and go through the checklist together. Such a meeting would identify the strengths and perhaps ways to improve the systems and consultation procedures and ensure that effective WHS consultation is a standard and successful event in your workplace.
Using this checklist to improve consultation and ensure effective consultation will improve health and safety, and can boost morale and management/workers relationships.
And Courtenell would be pleased to assist any clients to achieve this success.
Ref 1. https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/media-centre/news/consultation-checklist-now-available
Ref 2. SafeWork NSW’s Code of Practice, Work Health and Safety Consultation, Cooperation and Coordination, December 2022, page 9 https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0013/50071/Code-of-practice_WHS-consultation-cooperation-and-coordination_February-2022.pdf
Ref 3. https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/consultation-checklist
17th August 2023
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