It’s well known that achieving a great safety culture at work is heavily reliant on effective employee communication, consultation and involvement in workplace safety matters.
The Victorian Government recognised this in a recent review of Worksafe Victoria’s approaches to consultation and made an important legislative amendment in September this year. The legal change enhances the requirements for employers to consult with health and safety representatives (HSRs) and employees in the workplace regarding health and safety.
Section 36 of the OHS Act, 2004 has been repealed and the wording from that section has been included under Section 35(3) & (4) of the amended OHS Act, 2004. It makes it an offence for an employer not to:
The penalties for the revised Section 35 offences remain the same. i.e. 900 penalty units or up to $145,071.
In addition to these requirements, if employees are represented by a HSR, the consultations must include the HSR with or without the involvement of the employees directly. The employer can rely on the HSR’s to relay the information to employees, however this does not result in the HSR becoming legally responsible for this. The duty to consult on safety matters still remains with the employer.
Ways employers can demonstrate compliance
Consultation with employers and HSRs can be achieved and demonstrated in a number of ways. This may be in the form of any or all of the following:
The chosen methods of consultation must be suitable to the hazard and risk profile, the structure and operations of the relevant workplace.
If you have any questions or need any assistance with this or any other safety matter in your workplace, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our expert Health Safety and Wellbeing team who will be able to provide you with the information and support you require.
To speak to one of our experts about how we can help you with workplace safety please contact us on 03 8662 5333 or email@example.com.
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For all other enquiries, please contact the Victorian Chamber on (03) 8662 5333.