Worker consultation, in my opinion, is the absolute backbone of any successful WHS system within a business. We must consult with our workers and involve them in decisions that affect their health and safety whilst at work.
I remember my father always used to say to try and learn something new every day and the best way to do that in regards to our workplaces and work health and safety is to ask questions and then listen to what people have to say.
If you are the boss or the senior supervisor and have been working in your industry for years and years it is easy to find yourself being a bit complacent or even have blinkers on so to speak. ‘This is the way it’s done, we’ve always done it that way’. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen situations where these people have been shown a better, more productive or safer way of doing a task. Sometimes even by the first year junior.
Get your people involved in the following circumstances as a minimum.
- Risk Assessments and Safe Work Procedure creation
- Weekly or fortnightly safety meetings
- Tool Box Talks
- During the introduction of new equipment
- Implementing new processes and tasks
- Workplace audits and reviews
- Safety inspections
Pic Above: Some of the forms used by Trade Safety Client ‘Strait Up Cranes’
SafeWork NSW have just released their new consultation at work toolkit, go check it out by following the link: www.safework.nsw.gov.au/health-and-safety/consultation-@-work
The clients we work with regularly “Our SharePoint Clients” do all of this and we assist them by providing fortnightly Safety Meetings and Tool Box Talks. We always ask these question of all the workers:
- Have there been any incidents or accidents?
- Are there any issues or hazards to discuss?
- Do you have any actions to be raised and addressed?
- Is there any equipment faults or new equipment needed to do your task safely?
Pic Above: Accur8 Carpentry Crew during a Safety Meeting with Trade Safety
By asking these questions our workplaces are kept as safe as possible as we can action and resolve issues as they arise. It also shows our workers that we care about their wellbeing and want to work with them to ensure the tasks run smoothly and safety.
On top of this, we also make it very clear that workers can raise safety matters at any time and as they arise, not to just wait until the next safety meeting. There are no silly or incorrect questions or concerns when it comes to working safely.
Again, this is often how we learn new things and better ways of protecting our people from harm.