Consultation @ Work – Port Stephens Council

Consultation @ Work – Port Stephens Council


Consultation is really easy and it’s
important that you don’t overthink it. It’s as simple as just having a
one-on-one conversation with someone, and you can get some really great ideas and
feedback about safety by doing that. The type of work that Port Stephens Council does is really diverse. We’ve got many different work sites and they include
waste transfer stations, childcare centres, libraries, construction sites,
holiday parks. With our consultation arrangements, we have a Health and Safety Committee, and we also have Health and Safety representatives. With our Health
and Safety Committee, it’s made up of people that have been appointed by the
PCBU, and of course the other half have been appointed by the workers. It’s
important for everyone to be involved in consultation because it means that
there’s a sense of ownership of what is happening to each individual in terms of
safety. It helps to have committee members from all areas of council. We get
that breadth of experience and expertise and understanding. Every year we develop
a Work Health and Safety roadmap in consultation with our HSRs and Health
and Safety Committee members. The roadmap keeps us on track and it gives us
something to work towards and it sets clear expectations. Because of our mobile
workforce, we’ve got to be quite clever with the way we communicate. We produce a
lot of flyers, newsletters, posters, we produce safety calendars, safety
handbooks. We also have our intranet that is called ‘My Port’. And on My Port, we do
have a lot of safety information. We actually have an integrated risk
management page set up. Consultation is really important because everyone feels
really involved and everyone feels part of a solution. We do safety
observations. It helps to break down the barriers between the indoor and outdoor
staff. It helps the indoor staff understand the safety that’s
involved with the outdoor staff and the jobs we do we do. We do daily toolbox talks.
All the workers have a say here at Port Stevens Council on how we manage our risk,
identify risk and control our risks. For our volunteers and contractors, we
really don’t do anything too different in regards to consultation.
We treat them like our own, so they’re our own workers. We induct them onto the
job sites, we identify any potential hazards, we provide training, we have an
actual person that’s dedicated to managing all of our volunteers that work
for us across Council. It’s so important that we do consult with our workers
because without them, we won’t get anywhere. It’s important for all
businesses to take safety seriously because we all want to go home to our
loved ones each night. Businesses just run better when safety is taken into
mind. There’s less lost time and injury. There’s certainly more productivity,
better morale, and I think everybody feels as though we’re in it together.
It’s a bit part of a big family, and it’s not just the day-to-day coming to work.

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