How to Improve WHS Consultation in Your Workplace
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How to Improve WHS Consultation in Your Workplace

Are you satisfied that WHS consultation in your workplace is effective?

The meaning of effective consultation is covered in the Code of Practice - Consultation,  Co-operation and Co-ordination. (You can find a checklist for effective consultation in our June 2013 issue of Your Safety Matters

As you know a PCBU must consult, so far as is reasonably practicable, with workers who carry out work for the business or undertaking and who are (or are likely to be) directly affected by a health and safety matter  (Section 47-49 WHS Act).

You probably consult in your workplace by using as system of HSRs and/or a Health & Safety Committee but would your workers agree that the WHS consultation process in your workplace is effective. Recent research by Safe Work Australia may make you wonder.

Recent Research From Safe Work Australia

Survey work by Safe Work Australia of businesses in the manufacturing industry (Work Health & Safety Perceptions- Manufacturing Industry - Safe Work Australia) identified the shortcomings and need for improvement in WHS consultation. For example Safe Work Australia reported that:  

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Did you know!

33% of  serious claims are the result of muscular stress while lifting or handling objects

90% of  serious claims were caused by injuries and musculoskeletal disorder

26,135 serious claims involved Falls, trips and slips of a person

Ref:  ‘Australian Workers’ Compensation Statistics, 2012–13’ Report by Safe Work Australia is licensed under CC by 3.0 AU

Do You Need to Improve WHS Consultation in Your Workplace?

You might like to consider taking the following steps;

  1. Do a survey in your workplace to determine if there are any areas of consultation that need to be improved. (You could easily turn the checklist at this link into a survey tool or amend it to suit your workplace. Also see our article at

  1. Analyse the survey responses so that you can compare the responses of your managers, supervisors, and other workers. (There could be significant differences in responses  between the 3 groups.)

  1. Distribute the survey results to your managers, supervisors, and other workers.

  1. Use the consultation system in your workplace to obtain agreement and action on any areas of consultation that are in need of improvement.
perceptions between the views of workers and employers