Communication & Consultation – what you need to know

One of the main pillars of good safety practice is ongoing and relevant communication of safety topics that could affect your workers. It’s a bit of a no brainer really. But what about consultation? Does that mean you need to run every decision by all workers? No – but your workers should be involved in safety decisions that could directly affect them. It makes sense – they are the ones facing the hazards of their work daily.

Communication

This could be as simple as a noticeboard with timely information about relevant topics and issues in the workplace or industry as a whole. You could put a safety message on payslips or have all your safety documents on an online portal for workers to access. It could be having safety as a standing agenda item at all meetings held in the workplace.

Consultation

Consultation is really the process of making an informed decision – and the best people to help inform that decision are the people affected by the hazard or issue every day. Your workers. Consultation enables you to share WHS information and get your worker’s views. By becoming more aware of WHS issues and hazards in your workplace, you are able to resolve the issues and make the workplace safer for everyone. So how do you actually consult?

Hold safety meetings / have safety as an agenda item on all meetings. Make sure there is a written record of the meeting including the decisions made.

Have safety representatives throughout the workplace (elected by peers).

Establish and maintain an effective WHS Committee made of management and workers reps.

Involve workers in the assessment of workplace hazards, or changes being discussed at the workplace (new chemicals, new plant and equipment, change to processes).

Update the safety noticeboard regularly.

Celebrate collaborative efforts that effectively resolve safety issues.

Make sure your workers know what consultation mechanisms are in place for them to share ideas, participate in decision making and be involved in resolving hazards.

Information

It all comes down to information. Who knows what? What can we do about it? When could it happen? Who could get hurt? How do we fix it or make it safer?

If you want advice on how to implement consultation mechanisms to suit your business, give me a call today to start the discussion.

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