Safe Work Australia Advice on WHS Consultation
Weekly WHS Article 8th November 2023
A PCBU must consult with their workers about work health and safety matters in their workplace. WHS consultation has to be effective and the SafeWork NSW Code of Practice: Work Health and Safety Consultation, Cooperation and Coordination devotes pages 13 to 17 in advising what should be done to achieve effective consultation. That advice includes;
“Management commitment and open communication between managers and workers is important in achieving effective consultation. Your workers are more likely to engage in consultation when their knowledge and ideas are actively sought and concerns about health and safety are taken seriously.
Consultation does not mean telling your workers about a health and safety decision or action after it has been taken.
Workers should be encouraged to: − ask questions about health and safety − raise concerns and report problems − make safety recommendations, and − be part of the problem-solving process.” (page 13)
Ideally all matters on pages 13 to 17 of the above Code of Practice that apply to your workplace should be known and used to achieve effective consultation.
A Checklist for PCBUs
In August 2023 Safe Work Australia published a WHS consultation checklist for PCBUs that can be used to ensure that they have arrangements in place that support effective consultation (Ref 1).
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.
Courtenell would be pleased to assist any clients to achieve this success.
8th November 2023
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