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What does good consultation look like?

Good consultation means:

  • your business has agreed consultation arrangements with your workers and you tell them about consultation outcomes
  • you consult with workers before making decisions that impact their health and safety
  • you have regular, honest talks with your workers about the consultation process, how it’s working and how it could be improved
  • there is a good representation of all workers in the consultation process, including diversity of their age, ability, language or literacy
  • workers suggest and support timely improvements that benefit your business
  • you consult, cooperate and coordinate work health and safety activities with other businesses that have shared duties
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work health and safety

Consultation arrangements*

What is a consultation arrangement

How you consult with workers is called a consultation arrangement. It can be as simple as talking to your workers regularly and considering their views when making health and safety decisions. Your workers must agree to the arrangement.

Why consult?

Consultation is an essential part of managing work health and safety in your workplace. You must consult with workers who are, or are likely to be, directly affected by a health and safety issue in your workplace.

How to consult

You can consult with workers in a variety of ways, including:

  • holding regular meetings, formal or informal
  • electing a health and safety representative
  • appointing a health and safety committee

You can use a mix of consultation arrangements.
When deciding how to consult, consider:

  • the size of your business
  • the way work is arranged
  • what suits your workers

When to consult

Consultation must be regular and ongoing. You must consult with your workers when:

  • identifying hazards and assessing risks
  • deciding how to eliminate or minimise risks
  • proposing changes that may affect the health and safety of your workers
  • making decisions about workplace facilities
  • making decisions about how you will:
    • consult with your workers
    • resolve workplace health and safety issues
    • monitor your workers’ health
    • monitor workplace condition
    • provide information and training to your workers

Involve workers in WHS decisions

Your workers are affected by your decisions, so you must involve them in all work health and safety decisions. They can help you identify better controls, improve decision-making and reduce incidents.

Consult with other businesses

Who to consult

If you share work health and safety duties with another business, you must consult with them and their workers. For example, if you have contractors or labour-hire workers, you share a duty of care and you must consult with the businesses that provide their services.

What to consult

  • Employer responsibilities.
  • Procedures for consulting and resolving issues.
  • How work affects others and who is affected.
  • Hazards, risks and control measures.
  • How controls will be checked and updated.

How to cooperate

  • Listen to and consider the views of others.
  • Act upon your agreed commitments.

How to coordinate

  • Plan and work together.
  • Check and update control measures regularly, to make sure they are working well.

*Some questions may not apply if you are a sole trader, unless you engage with sub-contractors, labour-hire workers, volunteers, work experience, etc.


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