Under WH&S Legislation the employer has a legal responsibility to carry out WH&S consultation. In practical terms, this means that all companies have a responsibility to carry out safety meetings with their workers.
These meetings are important because they keep the lines of safety communication open between management and workers and help you identify and correct potential hazards before incidents or injuries occur.
These meetings are structured to suit the size and type of your business. They can be a safety tool box meeting with all your workers or you can get workers to nominate health and safety representatives from the different sections of your workplace.
The most important aspect of these safety meeting is that you carry them out at least once every 3 months, or more often if safety issues arise, and that minutes of the meetings are documented.
Remember, a safety meeting is not just about ticking a box in your safety management system, it is about discussing and acting upon safety issues in your workplace and valuing workers’ safety viewpoints. It is an opportunity for your employees to have a genuine and positive impact on decision making affecting safety at your workplace.
Conducting a safety meeting does not of itself guarantee that your duty to consult under the safety legislation will be met. You must ensure the following:
a. Consultation is meaningful and effective – encourages workers’ participation and input to improve the systems of the company’s safety management system.
b. Relevant information is provided to the workers on safety issues.
c. Safety improvements are discussed and are acted on.
Sometimes employers do not know what to discuss in a safety meeting with workers. Here are some suggestions:
1. Review previous minutes
2. Discuss risk assessments of the workplace
3. Discuss any incidents or injuries
4. Review some of your safety policies or procedures
5. Discuss any safety concerns from workers.
6. Discuss any incidents you have heard about from other companies.
7. Provide some extra training in a safety area
8. Discuss any new improvements or changes in the workplace.
Let’s be clear about this, a frame and truss site can be a potentially hazardous place if not skilfully managed. Input from all your workforce, as well as prudent management, will minimise the chances of an accident occurring.