Under current Work Health Safety (WHS) legislation safety guidelines that replaced the former Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) legislation, the onus of ‘duty to consult” has broadened to now encompass all workers in decisions regarding health and safety within the workplace.
To reflect modern workplace arrangements, the WHS legislation has broadened the definition of ‘worker,’ and the term ‘employer’. Those terms now include a ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ (PCBUs), which encompasses sole traders, principle contractors, unincorporated associations, partnerships, franchisees, self-employed people and volunteer organizations that employ people.
According to PerformHR, the WHS act imposes the onus of duty of care on PCBUs to consult with workers and engage their input on workplace health and safety matters.
Workplace health and safety consultations can be an informal process that involves obtaining the views and ideas of employees, and can include more formal consultation involving Health & Safety Representatives, a Health & Safety Committee or other relevant face to face arrangement.