In this blog we talk about how to consult for WHS in your workplace.
Michael discusses what you need to know about how to consult about WHS in your office, your factory, your workshop or anywhere in your workplace.
Work health and safety (WHS) consultation is a legislative requirement under Australian legislation.
It's also a requirement under the new health and safety international standards (ISO 45001).
Even without those two things, I think it’s a great idea that you consult with your workers either way.
It just is good business sense and you're going to get a much better picture of the hazard profile of your workplace, and the workers are going to feel much more involved in their own health and safety.
Who should we consult with?
Firstly, the workers are really important to consult with.
We also need to make sure we consult with other businesses, who have a similar requirement to us with regards to our worker health and safety.
How do we consult with our workers?
Its important that we involve them in decision making.
I think a great forum is something like a toolbox talk. Just regularly running toolbox talks to make sure workers feel involved and that they have an opportunity to have a say on their own health and safety.
We can have other types of team meetings.
Some companies will implement health and safety committees.
Running, for example, hazard inspections, risk assessments or health and safety training, are all great opportunities where you can get workers involved talking about their own health and safety.
How do we consult with other businesses?
Aside from consulting with our workers, it’s also important as a business we consult with any other businesses who have a similar or overlapping health and safety responsibility.
This is going to be relevant for things like combined emergency procedures, for example.
You might have a few different businesses working in the same type of workplace where they all have similar or overlapping evacuation procedures. It’s important that we consult with that other business to make sure that those procedures are in alignment.
Another example of this is, if you have workers from one business coming in and working in the other business, such as labour hire for example. There needs to be some consultation between those businesses to make sure their health and safety requirements, training, those sorts of things for the labour hire workers are covered off and that each company knows where their responsibilities lie.
So, that’s one other area of health and safety consultation other than consulting with your workers that is actually really important.
How do we consult with other Health and Safety Reps and Heath and Safety Committees?
There is a couple of other legislative requirements that are listed under the work health and safety legislation and these are health and safety representatives and health and safety committees.
These will only be required when specific requests are made, so they’re not a requirement for every workplace.
Once they are in place, there is specific requirements that each workplace will have in relation to those two things.
There’ll be requirements with regards to:
- How you elect and the rights of your health and safety representatives
- How you elect and the rights for health and safety committees
- Who’s on the committee
- How often they run
We’ll cover those particular requirements in a separate video on health and safety reps and health and safety committees, but just be aware at this stage that they are a requirement when requested by the workplace.
That's a quick summary on health and safety consultation.
It is a big topic and it needs to be done really well.
One of the things about it is that its not particularly hard. As long as you're talking to your workers in some form, that could be in toolbox talks, training or day-to-day chats, as long as your workers are involved and being consulted, you’re covering off on your health and safety duties there.
You need to make sure you consult with other businesses on any issues to do with health and safety that impact your workers.
Just be aware there are a couple of legislative requirements with regards to health and safety reps and health and safety committees.
- Consult required under harmonised legislation.
- Consult with workers and other businesses.
- Health and Safety Reps and and Committees required when requested.