The Code of Practice on how to meet the requirements for consultation, cooperation and coordination on work health and safety matters is a code of practice under the Work Health and Safety Act (the WHS Act).
An approved code of practice provides practical guidance on achieving the work health and safety standards required under the WHS Act and the Work Health and Safety Regulations. A code of practice can assist anyone with a duty of care, such as business owners, with practical ways to identify and manage risks.
Anyone involved in design, manufacturing or installation has health and safety consultation, cooperation, and coordination duties. Workers must also take reasonable care to protect themselves.
When to consult with workers
You should consult with workers on any change which could affect them, including introducing new equipment, timeframes, or work environments. They should also be consulted on welfare facilities and health and safety procedures.
What is effective consultation?
A consultation must be a two-way conversation that includes sharing information and listening to, seeking, and considering workers’ views. They must be given a chance to express opinions and contribute to changes. Any outcomes should be recorded, and workers advised.
How to consult with workers
You can consult by talking to your workers or by forming full committees. What is best for you depends on the size of the business, how work is arranged and how frequently consultation is required. You should take reasonable action to ensure these consultations are accessible to all workers, including part-time, differently abled, or seasonal workers.
When to consult, cooperate and coordinate activities with other duty holders
If more than one undertaking operates in one place, it’s still up to those with a duty to health and safety to take any action within their power. Where multiple roles cross over, individuals must coordinate and cooperate with each of the others to ensure health and safety are prioritised.
Identify duty holders whose remit crosses over with yours and make contact as soon as you know another undertaking will be involved in the same project.
What is adequate consultation with other duty holders
The main goals of consultation are to establish the potential hazards and how they will be minimised. When collaborating with other duty holders, you must share information and ensure you are clear on who is responsible for what actions before you conclude a consultation. Again, workers must be kept involved and informed.
If another duty holder declines, you should try to clarify with them that this is their duty. A written arrangement can help to make things more straightforward, and a requirement for external parties to cooperate should be included in contracts so that you have the right to enforce this health and safety obligation.Altora’s partner OHS consultant, Gabrielle Condon from CC Safety, provides an interesting read on her experiences working at high-risk work environments on her blog ‘Being Proactive – The importance of Standards, Codes of Practice and Safe Work Procedures