WorkSafe South Australia describes consultation as a two-way exchange between employers and employees that involves:
- Sharing information relating to workplace health and safety
- Listening to concerns and raising concerns
- Taking the views of others into consideration
The importance of consultation
The issue of consultation focuses on harnessing the power of the workforce. By harnessing the knowledge, skills and first-hand experience of workers, businesses are able to make better-informed decisions about workplace health and safety matters.
Another essential point is that when more people are focusing on a particular issue, the more likely it is that risks won’t be missed and that all possible control measures are implemented. What is more is that consultation processes assist in building a workplace that is able to adapt to change easier, is more productive and safer.
For all these reasons there is a legal requirement to consult workers about work tasks that affect their health and safety.
When to consult with workers
There are specific matters that call for consultation under the WHS Act. A person conducting a business or undertaking must consult with workers when:
- identifying hazards and assessing risks arising from the work carried out or to be carried out
- making decisions about ways to eliminate or minimise those risks
- making decisions about the adequacy of facilities for the welfare of workers
- proposing changes that may affect the health or safety of your workers, and
- making decisions about procedures for consulting with workers; resolving health or safety issues; monitoring the health of your workers; monitoring the conditions at the workplace and providing information and training for your workers.
In any case, regularly consulting workers on matters of health and safety other than the ones listed above will allow you to identify risks and make arrangements to fix potential problems.
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