Workers in the public sector are central to workplace safety and health, and should be consulted during the development of management systems, policies and practices, and when addressing issues of mutual concern.
Consultation means actively seeking and then taking account the views of workers before making a decision. It involves two-way communication with leadership providing information and workers taking on the responsibility of actively participating in the process.
Ensuring there are functioning safety and health committees is a visible way of engaging people in safety matters at work.
Note: Not all approaches to workplace safety and health will be the same – there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. Larger agencies, for example, may have well-established safety and health committees. In smaller agencies, Chief Executive Officers may have to take on a more hands-on approach to health, safety and injury management practices.
As well as safety and health representatives, each committee should have a representative from the agency’s corporate executive and, where possible, include a union representative.
The committee should report regularly to the agency’s executive on actions and outcomes. Ideally, workplace safety, health and injury management should be a standing item on the executive’s meeting agenda.
The committee should be prepared to collect data and report regularly on workplace safety and health, including to the executive and through the agency’s annual report.