Consultation is a ‘Two Way Street’
The WHSR has a pivotal role in the consultative process and apart from mediation and representing their workgroup acts as a ‘technical interpreter’ between the employer and employee.
How do the roles of a WHSR combine hazard identification, risk assessment and consultation?
With an intimate knowledge WHSR’s already have a detailed understanding of specific hazards in their workplace and are able to communicate these to employees and the employer. Additionally, if the WHSR has a thorough understanding of risk assessment then they are in a unique position to communicate with employees how risk assessments are to be completed and the importance of ranking hazards for the significance of risk.
If an employer, employees and their WHSR’s do not have a common or shared understanding of these requirements workplace safety often becomes a ‘shotgun’ approach where complex hazards are perceived as too difficult to correct or eliminate.
Likewise, employers must ensure that WHSR’s have the respect of everyone and the resources to be able to complete their role, especially when educating others about specific workplace safety issues.