Consulting with workers, including volunteers
Under the work health and safety (WHS) laws, persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) are required to talk to their workers, including volunteers, about any matters that may affect their health and safety. The people doing the job are often the best positioned to offer advice on the type of hazards they face and the best ways to control the risks and work safety.
Consultation is not difficult. For most clubs this can be as easy as having direct discussions, sometimes referred to as a 'toolbox meeting'. A PCBU and clubs are responsible for consulting with other PCBUs, clubs and local councils relating to shared facility issues.
Direct discussions through a simple safety meeting might involve the following:
- gathering workers, including volunteers, at the start of work;
- inviting workers to raise any WHS issues they may have;
- reporting actions taken since the last meeting;
- discussing with workers any planned changes that may affect health and safety at work;
- discussing with workers any new hazards and possible control measures;
- conducting a 'walk around' safety inspection; or
- asking workers for feedback
The Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (WHS Act) provides organisations such as sports clubs with the flexibility to work out consultation arrangements that best suit the club and its workers, including volunteers.
The WHS Act also allows for consultation through a WHS committee or health and safety representative, and sets out the mechanisms for establishing a committee and electing health and safety representatives.
New workers should be introduced to WHS policies, procedures and consultative mechanisms through an induction into the club. Existing members should have some input into developing an induction package as they were new starters once and will have good ideas about what a new worker needs to know. An induction checklist is provided below.
For more information, visit your state or territory WHS regulator.
Download the Code of Practice: Work Health and Safety Consultation Cooperation and Coordination from the Safe Work Australia website.
Induction - Checklist for new members:
Explain to your new workers, including volunteers:
- the industry, nature and structure of your club
- WHS roles of key people in your club
- Demonstrate how to do the job safely
- Provide required information and supervision
- Introduce other workers and the supervisor
- Introduce the first aid officer and show location of first aid supplies
- Explain and demonstrate emergency procedures
- Show the location of exits and equipment
- Show the work area, toilet and drinking water and eating facilities
- Show where to make phone calls and collect messages
Explain to your new worker:
- work times and meal breaks
- rates of pay and how payment is made
- taxation (including filling out required forms)
- superannuation and other deductions
- leave entitlements
- notification of sick leave or absences
Explain to and show your new worker:
- quality procedures
- security issues
- hygiene procedures and facilities
Health and safety
Explain to your new worker:
- health and safety policy and safe work procedures (provide a copy)
- roles and responsibilities of people in the workplace (eg. health and safety representatives)
- hazards in the workplace and how they are controlled
- how to report health and safety issues (including forms)
- how they will be kept informed about health and safety issues
- workers compensation claims (including showing where forms are)
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