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This guide discusses what a culture of consultation is, how to implement it, and then how to recognise and make the most of the benefits to your business that will arise as a result.

Creating a Culture of Consultation

Workplace consultation involves developing and implementing effective consultation mechanisms. This will encourage workers and management to co-operate, and will also make all employees feel engaged with their workplace. Discussion between management and workers on workplace health and safety (WHS) issues should be:

  • Cooperative rather than adversarial
  • Based on exchanging views and considering views rather than argument
  • Aiming to reach a consensus among all participants.

Reaching consensus fosters positive qualities of collaboration, involvement and cooperation within a workplace.

To properly create a culture of consultation, seeking the opinions and views of workers on WHS issues must be a regular practice, not a one-off. Management can consult workers as individuals, groups, unions or a mixture of all three. To implement a system from this information, it should be recorded, organised and then promoted clearly throughout your organisation.

Worksafe Victoria Strategy for Medium Size Businesses

For example, the WorkSafe Victoria medium segment strategy encourages businesses in this sector to:

  • integrate safety into their business management systems,
  • ensure they practice prevention rather than reaction, and
  • gain commitment from company owners and directors to the process.

Company owners and directors are often simply unaware of the benefits that can come from having systematic prevention-based health and safety management in place. Obviously, these include increased work safety and a more inclusive work atmosphere, but there are also monetary benefits to be had as well in the form of lower WorkCover premiums as well as other cost reductions.

The fifth pillar in the “Seven Pillars of Safety” is “Consultation”. Regular, inclusive discussion with staff on workplace health and safety and return to work improvements combined with systematic recording and promotion of the collected information will result in a workplace safety system that’s owned and committed to by all employees. It will also have an impact on your business's bottom line by cutting costs associated with workplace accidents and injuries.

General advice warning

The information on this site is of a general nature only. It does not take your specific needs or circumstances into consideration. You should look at your own situation and requirements before making any decisions.


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