Whats the Deal on NSW Consultative Committees

We have had a few people operating businesses in NSW asking about consultation, OHS committees and whether they need to have one.

Well it depends. First of all, as an employer responsible for the welfare of your employees and visitors you have the duty to consult with employees on the procedures that should be followed to reduce workplace injuries and promote safety. Its a legal requirement for all businesses in NSW and found under section 13 of the OHS Act 2000 as a “duty to discuss”. And you need to agree on which form of consultation arrangement you will have.

The choices you have as an employer are between having an OHS Representative, an OHS Committee or an agreed arrangement. Most companies opt for having an OHS Representative, usually a volunteer but this can vary. 

Now, if you do not have an OHS Representative that does not mean you have to rush out and set up a consultative committee but you must discuss with your employees what form your consultation you will take. Workcover NSW prescribes a Consultative Course for all OHS Committee members and OHS Representatives that is available from many reputable training organisations.  

You should consult with employees when risks are being assessed, changes are being considered to how risks are measured or controlled, or any changes that could affect the safety or welfare of employees. For example when you are changing or introducing safety inspections, or planning a training program. One of our consultants has worked with a company where they had to look at alternative arrangements. In this business no-one wanted to be on a Committee or be an OHS Representative. In that case they decided to tap into the regular and structured operational meetings that were already being held between management and staff and use them to discuss OHS and welfare. Tight agenda controls and minutes were kept and this apparently proved more than adequate.

See if these alternatives apply to you or get advice on where to obtain help on 

About the Author

Safety Concepts is an online resource providing up to date insights and covering issues in the field of Workplace Safety.

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.