Under OH&S law employers must consult with employees and independent contractors on matters that will directly affect their health, safety or welfare. This includes when:
Employers must consult on these matters so far as is reasonably practicable. This includes consulting with independent contractors and their employees in relation to matters over which the principal employer has or should have control.
To comply with your obligations you must promote meaningful consultation. This includes:
Where workers are represented by health and safety representatives (HSRs), employers must also involve the HSRs in consultation.
After taking into account a workers’ view or opinion, you do not necessarily have to agree with it.
What is important is that you give workers the opportunity to be heard and take their views and opinions into account before making decisions about health and safety, and controlling risk so far as is reasonably practicable.
Employees and contractors can be consulted in a variety of ways, including on site, over the phone, fax or email, or via site induction, toolbox meetings or by regular face-to-face meetings. One or a mix of the arrangements may be appropriate, depending on the type of work carried out and the site.
Although consultation does not have to be documented, you may need to convince an inspector that you have done this, so we recommend that you make a note or record of consultation activities. This can be as simple as a diary entry.
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