Consultation under the new work health and safety laws


Hello and welcome to our short presentationon consultation under the new work health and safety laws.

Whilst the new legislationwill introduce changes to the way work health and safety is currently administered in someworkplaces, consultation remains a key element in achieving a safe workplace.

Consultationis a two-way exchange of information.

It’s about sharing information with workers andgiving workers the opportunity to contribute to decisions affecting their health, safetyand welfare at their workplace.

The key changes from the current OHS Act are thatthe new Work Health and Safety Act places much broader responsibilities on persons conductinga business or undertaking you ll hear this referred to as a PCBU.

This is a new termwhich includes all employers and businesses.

The person conducting a business or undertakingmust now consult, not just with their employees, but with their workers and other duty holders.

The term worker includes employees but also any person who carries out work for that business.

For example, labour hire staff, volunteers, apprentices, contractors and self employedpeople.

A person conducting a business or undertaking must consult, so far as isreasonably practicable, with workers who carry out work for the business or undertaking andwho are (or are likely to be) directly affected by health and safety matters.

Thereare a range of methods you can use to consult with your workers.

The arrangements you putin place to consult with your workers should take into account the size of your business,how you normally talk with your workers and what suits the workers.

If you already haveconsultative mechanisms in place for your employees THAT WORK don t get rid of them.

Review them with your workers and decide how the existing arrangements can be used or modifiedto consult with other workers who do work for you.

The WHS Act allows for a range ofmechanisms to consult with workers ranging from informal flexible methods such as toolboxtalks to formal methods like the election of Health and Safety Representatives by workgroupsand/or Safety Committees.

You may find you need a combination of these mechanisms toconsult in different circumstances.

Consultation involves sharing informationwith all workers and needs to happen when: identifying hazards and assessing risks arisingfrom the work carried out or to be carried out making decisions about ways to eliminateor minimise those risks making decisions about the adequacy of facilities for the welfareof workers proposing changes that may affect the health or safety of your workers, andmaking 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 providinginformation and training for your workers.

However, it may be useful to also consultworkers about other matters as well, for example when conducting investigations into incidentsor near misses Regular consultation is better than consulting on a case-by-case basis asissues arise, because it allows you to identify and fix potential problems early.

Where there s more than one person conducting a business or undertaking with a duty in thesame health and safety matter under the Work Health and Safety Act, they must consult,cooperate and coordinate activities with each other, so far as is reasonably practicable.

For example, should a number of businesses be working together on a construction site(so maybe a principal contractor, builder, scaffolder and form workers) each of thosepersons and businesses must take proactive steps to consult with each other on safetymatters to the extent that it is reasonably practicable.

Managing work health and safetyrisks is more effective if duty holders talk to each other about how the work should bedone so that the risk to health and safety is eliminated or if this is not practicable,minimised.

The main objective is to work cooperatively to prevent injury and illnesses.

Managingwork health and safety risks is more effective if duty holders talk to each other about howthe work should be done so that the risk to health and safety is eliminated or if thisis not practicable, minimised.

The main objective is to work cooperatively to prevent injuryand illnesses.

To sum up this presentation: a person conducting a business or undertakingreplaces the term employer the new Act adopts a broad definition of worker to recognisethe changing nature of work relationships and to ensure health and safety protectionis extended to all types of workers.

Under the new Work Health and Safety legislation,the duty to consult remains the same, however the scope of the obligation has been broadenedto include all workers, not just employees and not just workers of the PCBU; A PCBU mustconsult with other duty holders and ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the healthand safety of workers they engage and workers they influence or direct.

They need to consult,cooperate and coordinate the 3 C s.

I ll say again consult, cooperate and coordinate.

Themain objective is to work cooperatively to prevent injury and illnesses.

A safe workplaceis enhanced when people at the workplace talk to each other about potential health and safetyproblems and work together to find solutions.

If you d like further informationabout consultation, there are other short information sessions available on the WorkCoverwebsite that may be of interest, as well as a range of fact sheets and other useful information.

For additional information on the new work health and safety legislation, check the WorkCoverNSW or Safe Work Australia websites.

The details are on your screen.

That concludes our presentation.

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