Safety Culture Through Consultation

The first step in developing an engaged safety culture is to start a conversation.

Consultation is a regulatory reference for discussing issues at work with your team to gain their input, perspective, ideas and opinions. It is a focus for effective compliance management across Australia and a big expectation from regulators across the country. The WHS Act (2011) clearly states that a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU – e.g. your Club) must consult with their workers.

Section 47: Duty to consult workers (1) The person conducting a business or undertaking must, so far as is reasonably practicable, consult, in accordance with this Division and the regulations, with workers who carry out work for the business or undertaking who are, or are likely to be, directly affected by a matter relating to work health or safety.

Those most qualified to offer input and suggest risk controls for the work being undertaken at your Club are…you guessed it, the staff actually undertaking the work! The bonus in approaching your compliance management with a consultative approach (involving your team) is that you get buy-in! Staff are far more interested in getting involved in procedures and systems they have had direct involvement in the creation of.

‘The best systems are ones developed by a business in conjunction with workers. It’s not rocket science, just a method of delivering simple safety messages, information and support to workers.’ – SafeWork Inspector

Ask for their input. You have hundreds of years of experience (some better than others!) in your team across countless different sites in their career history. This is a powerful resource you have available at your fingertips. A really valuable opportunity to learn from good and bad industry examples, experiences and case studies. If you are able to back up your consultation with resources and actions, you develop a powerful opportunity for staff to take individual ownership and personal responsibility for safety outcomes.

We see a significant shift from ‘it’s all the boss’s responsibility’ to our teams recognising that every worker has a requirement to contribute to and maintain a safe and healthy working environment. The more you are able to communicate and show practical relevance to your safety and environmental compliance efforts, the less confusion, uncertainty and residual risk exists. It is important to document your efforts and be able to show evidence of regular consultation with your team.

Question: I ‘consult’ (have conversations with) my team every day about safety, is that enough?

The great news is that our experience in the industry shows that effective consultation is happening at many turf facilities, just informally. The challenge for turf managers is to document this consultation. Teams must have a formal way of demonstrating that their staff regularly provide input on safety issues and their feedback is contributing positively to the way work is undertaken at their Club.

The first step in developing an engaged safety culture is to start a conversation.

Get help from our EHS compliance experts today!