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Consultation

There is a duty to consult with your workers and consult with other duty holders at the same workplace.

Consulting with other duty holders

There are often a number of different duty holders involved in workplaces (e.g. suppliers, contractors and building owners). The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (PDF, 833 KB) (the WHS Act) requires that where more than one person has a duty for the same matter, each person retains responsibility for their duty and must discharge the duty to the extent to which the person can influence and control the matter.

In these situations the WHS Act requires that each person with a duty must, so far as is reasonably practicable, consult, cooperate and coordinate activities with all other persons who have a work health and safety duty for the same matter. Each duty holder must share information in a timely manner and cooperate to meet health and safety obligations.

The duty requires persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) to work together in a proactive and reciprocal way. This allows all risks associated with an activity, that PCBUs are involved in, to be eliminated or minimised so far as is reasonably practicable.

Consulting with workers

The WHS Act requires you to consult, so far as is reasonably practicable, with your workers who are likely to be directly affected by a matter relating to work, health and safety.

Consultation is a collaborative process between the PCBU and workers. It involves sharing information about health and safety.

PCBUs must give workers who are, or are likely to be, directly affected by a matter relating to health and safety, a reasonable opportunity to express their views or raise issues.

If a Health and safety representative (HSR) is appointed to represent workers, the consultation must involve them.

When consulting must take place

A PCBU must consult with workers when:

  • identifying hazards and assessing risks arising from work
  • proposing changes that may affect the health and safety of workers
  • carrying out activities prescribed by the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (PDF, 2.53 MB) (the WHS Regulation).

A PCBU must also consult with workers and take their views into account when making decisions about:

  • ways to eliminate or minimise risks
  • the adequacy of facilities for workers' welfare
  • procedures for consulting workers
  • resolving health and safety issues
  • monitoring the health and safety of workers or workplace conditions
  • how to provide health and safety information and training to workers.

Entitlements of workers

Workers are entitled to:

  • elect a health and safety representative
  • request the formation of a health and safety committee
  • cease unsafe work
  • have health and safety issues resolved in accordance with an agreed issue resolution procedure
  • not be discriminated against for raising health and safety issues.
Last updated
18 July 2017

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