Who has duties in relation to consultation, co-operation and co-ordination? Consulting with workers
Section 47: A person conducting a business or undertaking must consult, so far as is reasonably practicable, with workers who carry out work for the business or undertaking and who are (or are likely to be) directly affected by a health and safety matter This duty to consult is based on the recognition that worker input and participation improves decision-making about health and safety matters and assists in reducing work-related injuries and disease. The broad definition of a ‘worker’ under the WHS Act means that you must consult with your employees plus anyone else who carries out work for your business or undertaking. You must consult, so far as is reasonably practicable, with your contractors and sub-contractors and their employees, on-hire workers, volunteers and any other people who are working for you and who are directly affected by a health and safety matter. Workers are entitled to take part in consultation arrangements and to be represented in relation to work health and safety by a health and safety representative who has been elected to represent their work group. If workers are represented by a health and safety representative, consultation must involve that representative. Consulting, co-operating and co-ordinating activities with other duty holders Section 46: If more than one person has a duty in relation to the same matter, each person with the duty must, so far as is reasonably practicable, consult, co-operate and co-ordinate activities with all other persons who have a duty in relation to the same matter Persons conducting a business or undertaking will have health and safety duties if they: •
engage workers to undertake work for them, or if they direct or influence work carried out by workers •
may put other people at risk from the conduct of their business or undertaking •
manage or control the workplace or fixtures, fittings or plant at the workplace •
design, manufacture, import or supply plant, substances or structures for use at a workplace •
install, construct or commission plant or structures at a workplace. These duty holders’ work activities may overlap and interact at particular times. When they share a duty, for example, a duty to protect the health and safety of a worker, or are involved in the same work, they will be required to consult, co-operate and co-ordinate activities with each other so far as is reasonably practicable. Principal contractors for a construction project, as persons who manage or control the workplace, have specific duties under the WHS Regulations to have arrangements in place for consultation, co-operation and the co-ordination of activities between any persons conducting a business or undertaking at the site. Officers, such as company directors, have a duty to exercise due diligence to ensure that the business or undertaking complies with the WHS Act and Regulations. This includes taking reasonable steps to ensure that the business or undertaking implements processes for complying with the duty to consult workers as well as consulting, co-operating and co-ordinating activities with other duty holders. Workers have a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and that they do not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons. Workers must comply with any reasonable instruction and co-operate with any reasonable health and safety policy or procedure, for example procedures for consultation at the workplace. 1.2
Why is consultation important?
Consultation is a legal requirement and an essential part of managing health and safety risks. A safe workplace is more easily achieved when everyone involved in the work communicates with each other to identify hazards and risks, talks about any health and safety concerns and works together to find solutions. This includes cooperation between the people who manage or control...
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