The Benefits of Effective WHS Consultation
Weekly WHS Article 26th October 2021
Would you like to improve the effectiveness of WHS consultation in your workplace? One way of reviewing the effectiveness of WHS consultation is to check on whether you are receiving appropriate benefits from the consultation process that is carried out.
If you use the list of benefits below as a checklist you may identify one or more areas in your workplace where the expected benefits of consultation have not yet been achieved. This list of benefits is based upon material in SafeWork NSW’s, Consultation, Co-operation and Co-ordination Code of Practice*.
You could reasonably expect that because you have HSRs and/or a H&S Committee and a functional consultation process, and you comply with the requirements of the WHS Act and WHS Regulation that your workplace will have benefits such as;
Well informed decisions that were made about how the work should be carried out safely because you drew on the knowledge, experience, expertise and skills of your workers.
Greater worker awareness and commitment – because workers have been actively involved in developing health and safety decisions.
Improved ability of workers to identify and control hazards.
Positive working relationships – because understanding the views of others leads to greater co-operation and trust.
Increased attention and motivation of workers to work safely.
Improved safety culture.
Gaps in managing health and safety risks are handled when you share responsibility for health and safety on the same matter with other duty holders. On these occasions, consulting, co-operating and co-ordinating activities with these other duty holders can prevent situations such as:
- a lack of understanding of how the activities of each person may add to the hazards and risks to which others may be exposed,
- duty holders assume that someone else is taking care of the health and safety matter
- the person who takes action is not the best person to do so.
The PCBU and other duty holders are in a better position to identify hazards and implement workable solutions to health and safety matters.
A safer workplace – a significant reduction in near misses, injuries and illness is achieved because everyone involved in the work activity communicates with each other to identify hazards and risks, talks about any health and safety concerns and works together to find effective solutions and implements these. This includes cooperation between the people who manage or control the work and those who carry out the work or who are affected by the work.
In going through the above list, you may have identified one or more areas where you feel the benefits in your workplace are not as strong as you would like. Investigating and consulting with others about that will assist you to see what actions you need to take to improve the situation.
The PCBU’s duty to consult is based on the recognition that worker input and participation improves decision-making about health and safety matters and assists in reducing work-related injuries and disease.
* Any material in this article that is based on the SafeWork NSW Code of Practice – Work Health & Safety Consultation, Co-operation and Co-ordination is used under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 3.0 Australia License. To view a copy of this licence, visit www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/au. You are free to copy, communicate and adapt the work for non-commercial purposes, as long as you attribute the work to SafeWork NSW and abide by the other licence terms.
26th October 2021