Health, Safety and Wellbeing Communication and Consultation

Version Number

4.0

Implementation Date

9/07/2012

Scope

Department-wide

Purpose

​A communication and consultation procedure to facilitate safe and healthy working and learning environments as well as meet duties with respect to health and safety legislation. Workplace health and safety consultation is a collaborative process between the department and workers and involves sharing information about health and safety.

This procedure provides the departmental framework to give workers who are, or are likely to be directly affected by a matter relating to health and safety the opportunity to express views or raise issues. To facilitate workplace consultation this procedure references the Department of Education, Training and Employment (DETE) Health, Safety and Wellbeing Consultation Flowchart which is to be used in conjunction with Health, Safety and Wellbeing Risk Management Overview Documents and the Work Health and Safety Consultation, Co-operation and Co-ordination Code of Practice 2011.

Overview

​Consultation is a legal requirement under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld). A safe workplace is more easily achieved when people at the workplace communicate with each other about potential health and safety problems and work together to find solutions. By drawing on the knowledge and experience of workers, more informed decisions can be made about how work should be carried out safely. Effective health and safety consultation promotes greater awareness and commitment as well as positive working relationships. This procedure sets out a reasonably practicable framework for health and safety consultation across the department.

Responsibilities

​DETE
The department must, so far as is reasonably practicable, consult with workers who are (or are likely to be) directly affected by a health and safety matter as well as other duty holders in accordance with Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld), Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (Qld) and the
Work Health and Safety Consultation, Co-operation and Co-ordination Code of Practice 2011.

Director General:

  • creates and supports the DETE Health, Safety and Wellbeing Committee that meets and operates in accordance with the committee Terms of Reference 
  • has active membership on the DETE Health, Safety and Wellbeing Committee or delegates a member of the Executive Management Group to chair the committee
  • requests and receives information on hazards and risks and strategies to eliminate or minimise health and safety risks, e.g. through DETE Health, Safety and Wellbeing Committee quarterly reports
  • promotes the health and safety consultative process.

Regional and Institute Directors:

  • create and support Regional and Institute based Health, Safety and Wellbeing Committees/forums that meet in accordance with agreed Terms of Reference
  • have active membership on this committee or delegate a member of the Senior Management Group to chair the committee
  • ensure the committee has representation from all appropriate areas (e.g. human resources, infrastructure, facilities, education and training areas) to enable this group to make strategic and integrated decisions
  • implement systems for the identification and management of health, safety and wellbeing risks in the region/institute
  • follow the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Consultation Flowchart in conjunction with Health, Safety and Wellbeing Risk Management Overview Documents to escalate issues, report minutes and disseminate information. MyHR WHS can be used for this purpose where available
  • promote participation of workers by widely communicating the Regional/Institute Health, Safety and Wellbeing Committee agendas and minutes to relevant workers.

Assistant Directors General:

  • create and support Health, Safety and Wellbeing Committees/Forums that meet and operate in accordance with agreed Terms of Reference
  • have active membership on these committees or delegate a member of Senior Management to chair the committee
  • implement systems for the identification and management of health, safety and wellbeing risks
  • follow the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Consultation Flowchart in conjunction with Health, Safety and Wellbeing Risk Management Overview Documents escalate issues, report minutes and disseminate information (e.g. using MyHR WHS where available)
  • promote participation of workers by widely communicating the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Committee agenda and minutes to relevant workers.

Regional Organisational Health Staff (Senior health and Safety Consultants, Injury Management Consultants, Employee Assistance Coordinators), Health and Safety Coordinators – TAFEs:

  • provide health, safety and wellbeing advice to the Regional Director/Institute Director and others
  • participate in Health, Safety and Wellbeing Committees/Forums
  • work collectively to review and identify health, safety and wellbeing trends 
  • work in alignment with the Organisational Health Unit to implement operational strategies for state-wide consistency in service delivery and assist the department to comply with legislative, policy and procedural requirements.

Principals/Managers:

  • create and support Health, Safety and Wellbeing committees/forums that meet and operate in accordance with agreed Terms of Reference and act as a consultative forum for the workplace
  • have active membership on these committees or delegate a member of Senior Management to chair the committee
  • ensure that the committee Terms of Reference is in accordance with the requirement of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 e.g. at least half of the members of the committee must be workers who are not nominated by the person conducting the business
  • implement systems for the identification and management of health, safety and wellbeing risks and act as consultative forum for the workplace
  • follow the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Consultation Flowchart in conjunction with Health, Safety and Wellbeing Risk Management Overview Documents escalate issues, report minutes and disseminate information (e.g. using MyHR WHS where available).

Workplace Health and Safety Officers:

  • advise on health and safety issues within the workplace
  • assist in the resolution of workplace health, safety and wellbeing issues
  • refer to the WHSO Health and Safety Checklist
  • participate in Health, Safety and Wellbeing Committees and associated activities.

Workplace Health and Safety Representatives:

  • represent and communicate with the work group for which they are the elected Health and Safety Representative for Health and Safety Issues
  • participate in Health, Safety and Wellbeing Committees and associated activities
  • assist in the resolution of workplace health, safety and wellbeing issues
  • refer to the WHSR Health and Safety Checklist.

All Workplace Health, Safety and Wellbeing Committees/Forums:

Workers:

  • participate in consultation arrangements at the workplace and report any hazards and health and safety incidents.

Process

​The process for the resolution of issues in relation to consultation, cooperation and coordination on workplace health and safety matters is provided in Part 2.2 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation “Issue Resolution” and the Work Health and Safety Consultation, Co-operation and Co-ordination Code of Practice 2011.

Online Resources

Review Date

1/01/2014
Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-NC

​Consultation
Health, Safety and Wellbeing consultation is the sharing of relevant information, that gives workers reasonable opportunity to express their views, raise health or safety issues as well as contribute to the decision-making process around health and safety matters.

Work Group
The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) provides for workers to be represented and to consult as a work group. A work group may be determined for workers at one or more workplaces in consultation with the employer.  For example, workers employed in a particular role at one workplace may have their own health, safety and wellbeing committee, further workers employed in a particular role across a number of workplaces may form a work group. E.g. Scientific Officers across a number of schools within a region. Refer to the (DETE) Health, Safety and Wellbeing Consultation Flowchart.

Reasonably practicable
Consultation is to occur to the extent that is reasonable in particular circumstances. This will depend on the size and structure of the organisation, the nature of work, the nature of the decision, action or urgency, work arrangements and the characteristics of workers.

Worker
Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld), a worker is broadly defined as anyone engaged to carry out work. This includes regular staff as well as contractors, sub-contractors and their employees, labour hire personnel and volunteers.