Procedure: Work health and safety communication and consultation
- This procedure applies to all WHS communication and consultation activities conducted on or on behalf of the University with the potential to impact on work health and safety. This procedure should be read in conjunction with the Staff Consultation Policy and the Staff Representation Procedure.
- This procedure aligns with the intent of the Staff Consultation Policy and provides additional instruction for managing WHS specific communication and consultation to meet the requirements of the WHS Act. The key activities in this procedure for complying with the Act include:
- communicating and consulting on WHS specific matters such as policies, procedures, guidelines, forms, plans, programs and other matters;
- managing and resolving WHS complaints and concerns ;
- agreed WHS issue resolution process; and
- communicating with external parties on WHS matters.
WHS policies, procedures, programs and other matters
- All relevant stakeholders are involved and consulted, so far as reasonably practicable, in the development, implementation and review of WHS policies, procedures and programs.
- Relevant WHS stakeholders include WHS Managers, WHS Consultants, WHS Officers, Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) and WHS Committees. Other stakeholder groups are included based on relevance and are engaged as required, including School Managers, Directors and Service Division Directors, College General Managers and College Deans,.
- The Associate Director, Work Environment Group (WEG), in conjunction with Chairpersons of the WHS committees, ensures that any new or major amendments to WHS documentation are amended and communicated as per the WHS documentation and WHS committees and representatives procedure.
- Feedback from the consultation process is captured in a consultation log. The Associate Director WEG, in consultation with Chairpersons of the WHS committees, ensures that outcomes of any consultation process are communicated to all relevant persons (see Table 1).
Type of WHS information
Where it is located
Policies and procedures
As policy review occurs
Continuous and as per review occurs
As policy review occurs
WHS Committee Agenda and Minutes
Designated webpage and WHS Notice Boards
WHS Audit Reports and WHS Audit program
WHS Inspections Reports
WHS Inspection program
WHS Management Reviews
Within Local area buildings
University WHS Hazard register
Continuous – updated as required
WHS Training Matrix
Every 3 years
WHS Incident notifications and investigations
University wide depending on severity
Parties and School/Service Division involved in the complaint/concern
WHS Committee members, vacancies, election results
Local WHS Plan
ERMS and local website
WHS Local Training Plan
ERMS and local website
Local Static Risk Assessment Register
ERMS and local website
Local Hazard Register
Managing and resolving WHS complaints and concerns
- When external parties have a complaint or concern on health and safety in relation to the University’s business and undertaking, they are to notify their University contacts, or Work Environment Group (WEG), as soon as practicable. The University will accept both formal and informal complaints. The University contact or WEG will record any external complaints in Figtree.
- When internal parties have a complaint or concern on health and safety in relation to the University’s business and undertaking, they are to report it in writing to their supervisors or course coordinators and local WHS Officers or equivalent who raise this as a complaint in Figtree.
- All parties involved with the complaint or concern meet as soon as reasonably practicable, with assistance from WHS Officers or equivalent for internal complaints or from WEG representatives for external complaints, to resolve the complaints or concerns. Where the complaint or concern is raised internally, the elected Health and Safety Representatives are also involved.
- For external complaints, if agreement cannot be reached in the meeting, further investigation occurs and a final decision is made based on the investigation outcome.
- For internal complaints, if agreement cannot be reached in the meeting, the complaint is escalated to follow the Agreed WHS Issue Resolution Process, or, in case the complaint is raised by a coursework student, investigated further for a final decision based on the investigation outcome.
- All resolutions, including corrective action plans, are documented and copies are made available to relevant parties as required.
- The University WHS Committee in consultation with local WHS committees monitors the progress of all WHS complaints and concerns. School and Service Division Directors ensure all resolutions are completed as soon as reasonably practicable.
- This procedure is further explained and supplemented by WHSMS Handbook Chapter 3.17 - Raising and Resolving WHS Issues and Managing Complaints.
Agreed WHS Issue Resolution Process
- Both the workers and their representatives and the management representatives of the University at local level (i.e. managers and supervisors) can raise WHS issues with each other.
- When workers identify a WHS issue, they raise it in writing with their immediate supervisor or line manager, the Health and Safety Representative (HSR) in their designated Work Group, if elected, and the WHS Officer or equivalent.
- When supervisors or managers identify a WHS issue of a worker/s, they raise the issue with the corresponding worker/s in writing and notify the HSR of the Work Group, if elected, and the WHS Officer or equivalent.
- The WHS Officers or equivalent document the issue in Figtree.
- The worker is to cease or can be directed to cease unsafe work by the elected HSR of the Work Group and/or the supervisor is tocease the worker’s unsafe work practices, if there are serious and immediate or imminent risk to the health and safety of the worker or co-workers.
- Within 2 business days of receiving the written notification of the issue, the supervisor and the worker involved in the issue, including the HSR, meet to try to resolve the issue. All parties involved in the issue seek advice from local WHS Officers or equivalent and/or WEG WHS Consultants if further advice if required.
- Within 5 business days of the meeting (including on the day of the meeting), if agreement has been reached between the supervisor, the worker and the HSR, on the means to deal with the issues raised, the matter is regarded as satisfactorily resolved at the local level.
- If satisfactory agreement cannot be reached between the supervisor, the worker and the HSR, the matters is to be escalated. The supervisor and HSR refer the issue immediately in writing to the School/Service Division Director. The Directors arrange a meeting with these parties within 2 business days of receiving the written notification.
- The Director of School/Service Division and the supervisor and the elected HSR involved in the issue seek advice from WEG to try to resolve the issue at the School/Service Division level and to achieve agreement within 5 business days. The Director is to call the meeting of the Local WHS Committee within this timeframe to try to reach agreement. Once agreement has been reached, the matter is regarded as satisfactorily resolved at the School/Division level.
- If satisfactory agreement cannot be reached between the Director, the supervisor and the HSR within the timeframe , the matter is escalated by the Directors and the HSR in writing to College Deans for WHS issues in Schools or Human Resources Director for WHS issues in Service Divisions as soon as practicable.
- College Deans or the Human Resources Director meet with the HSR and the Director involved in the issue within 2 business days of receiving the written notification, in the presence of the Associate Director, WEG, to try to reach satisfactory agreement between the parties within 5 business days. The College Deans or the Human Resources Director are to call a University WHS Committee meeting within this timeframe to make efforts to resolve the issue. If agreement is reached, the matter is then regarded as satisfactorily resolved at the University level.
- If no satisfactory resolution of the issue can be reached at the University level, and the issue is raised by workers, then the HSR should further investigate the issuance and decide the need of a formal Provisional Improvement Notice as defined in section 90 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Clth).
- If no satisfactory resolution of the issue can be reached at the University level, and the issue is raised by supervisors towards a worker, disciplinary actions occur towards the worker if they refuse to obey reasonable instruction in relation to work health and safety.
- If the issue remains unresolved at University level, both the University and the HSR, may choose to refer the issue to the regulator, Comcare, for issue resolution. A representative of either the University or the workers may enter a workplace for attending discussions in aiming to resolve issues.
- Satisfactory resolution includes immediate settlement of this and any related concerns and issues as well as an agreed plan and timetable for future corrective actions if immediate action is not possible. Corrective actions are entered into Figtree via the assistance of WHS Officers or equivalent and monitored for completion by the University management. This requirement is applicable for satisfactory issue resolution at local, school/division and University level.
- For issues satisfactorily resolved at local, School/Division and University level, a written agreement is filed and communicated to the supervisor and the worker alongside with the corrective actions plan. The written agreement is submitted to University WHS Committee for noting via the sponsorship of Associate Director, WEG.
- The WHS Officer or equivalent who entered the issue in Figtree ensures all documents are stored in relevant Figtree entry and closes the issue at resolution. This record is stored for at least 50 years from the date of entry.
- This procedure is further explained in and supplemented by WHSMS Handbook Chapter 3.17 Raising and Resolving WHS Issues and Managing Complaints.
Communicating with external parties on WHS matters
- The following WHS information is exchanged with external parties, including, but not limited to,
- notifiable incidents with relevant regulators such as Comcare, ARPANSA, OGTR;
- regular reports to relevant regulators, such as Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission, ARPANSA, NICNAS, ANSO;
- regular reports to industry associations such as AHEIA, Group of Eight Universities;
- communicable diseases with ACT Health and other relevant parties;
- University WHS Policy, University WHS Management System including health and safety requirement and Permit to Work requirements with external contractors;
- hazard management requirements and incident investigation and or other relevant WHS related information from external contractors;
- WHS requirements in the tendering process and in the contract with external contractors the University will be engaging;
- WHS requirements with customers of hotel and accommodation services for their obligations;
- WHS requirements with suppliers of equipment for both for low risk areas such as offices and other high risk areas such as laboratories and workshop;
- University requirements on WHS for host PCBUs with external PCBUs, where the University have workers or HDR/Honours students occupying their space, and the host PCBU’s WHS requirements;
- student incident information from external student placement PCBUs where University students are on placement at the host PCBUs;
- student incident information with external parties for School students who are on work experience placement on University campuses;
- student incident and injury information with their parents or guardians when requested; and
- concerns and complaints involving or raised by any parties external to the University.
- All WHS incidents, concerns, complaints and matters involving and or raised by external parties are recorded in Figtree. WHS concerns, complaints and matters involving external parties are managed as per the Managing and Resolving WHS Complaints and Concerns section and WHS incidents involving external parties are managed as per WHS incident management procedure.
- All communication on WHS matters, including notifiable incidents with external regulators is only made by the Associate Director, WEG or an approved delegate, following approval by the Director of Human Resources and/or the Chief Operating Officer (COO). All communication on WHS matters with an external party is documented and stored in ERMS or Figtree as appropriate. These communications are available and can be retrieved by a formal request from a regulator.
- There are no training requirements for this procedure.
Legal and other requirements
AS/NZ 4801:2001 Occupational health and safety management systems
|Printable version (PDF)|
|Title||Work health and safety communication and consultation|
|Purpose||This procedure describes how the Australian National University (ANU) manages Work Health and Safety communication and consultation processes for the health, safety rehabilitation and claims (WHS) management systems.|
|Topic/ SubTopic||Health, Safety & Environment - Occupational Health & Safety|
|Effective Date||15 Jul 2019|
|Next Review Date||15 Jul 2024|
|Responsible Officer:||Chief People Officer|
|Approved By:||Chief Operating Officer|
|Contact Area||Human Resources Division|
Work Health & Safety Act 2011
Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011
Information generated and received by ANU staff in the course of conducting business on behalf of ANU is a record and should be captured by an authorised recordkeeping system. To learn more about University records and recordkeeping practice at ANU, see ANU recordkeeping and Policy: Records and archives management.