Consultation gives people the opportunity to participate and share information about work health and safety.
You can consult with workers in a variety of ways, including regular meetings or by setting up a health and safety committee.
Through talking about safety, you can become more aware of hazards in the workplace and workers can provide suggestions about how the work could be done safely.
Consultation is a legal requirement and an essential part of managing health and safety risks.
Using the knowledge and experience of everyone helps to identify safety hazards and risks easier as well as finding and communicating practical solutions.
Requirements to consult with workers
Consultation must take place on all work health and safety matters including:
- undertaking risk management activities
- proposing changes that may affect the health and safety of workers
- making decisions about any work health and safety procedures
- the adequacy of facilities for the welfare of workers.
Requirements to consult with others
When you share concurrent WHS duties with another employer or business, you must consult, cooperate and coordinate with each other and any workers of the business (or other PCBU) whose health and safety is likely to be effected.
Flexibility in setting up consultation arrangements
There is some flexibility in establishing consultation arrangements to best suit the consultation needs of the workers at the workplace.
Health and safety representatives can be elected to represent various work groups and investigate health and safety issues.
Health and safety committees facilitate cooperation between you and your workers on health and safety matters and develop work health and safety standards, rules and procedures.
Once established, consultation must be in accordance with the procedures agreed to between you and the workers.
It may be more effective and meaningful to have an alternative arrangement for consultation if workers travel frequently or the business is small.
And some workplaces may need a mix of health and safety representatives, committees and other agreed consultation arrangements tailored to suit the workers and the work environment.
Regardless of the arrangement, your obligation to consult with all workers remains.