Discussion 5

almost 2 years ago
CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Do the model WHS laws make it clear that PCBUs must consult, co-ordinate and co-operate where they have shared duties? If not, do you have a view on how this responsibility could be made clearer?

  • Margaret Theakston almost 2 years ago
    I agree with the comments posted. The issue is not about clarity of the legislation but rather about executives and senior leaders not understanding about shared duties with other PCBUs and the need to collaborate to ensure safety. There is also a poor understanding about when and how consultation should occur with workers. If (as in my organisation) there is a willingness to listen to the WHS specialists we are well positioned to influence consultation. In other agencies where WHS practitioners don't have a voice then the education and influence would have to come from elsewhere.
  • vanders1000 almost 2 years ago
    The requirement is clear, but there are times when no decision is made in a timely manner do to all of the consultation going on and no one is game enough to make a decision.
  • Grant HCA almost 2 years ago
    The current legislation does make it crystal clear that PCBU's and or their delegates are required to consult where their is a shared duty. However, the legislation enforces a share duty on PCBU's in a on-hire employee relationship which in reality the Host exerts full control. Where the Host exerts control over the site, the safety systems on site and supervisory control of all staff, on-hire companies at best can consult on site safety post incident due to the evolving risks on a hour by hour basis on these sites and work on influencing changes, but essentially the Host site controller will determine the safety systems.As an organisation we have both on-hire and direct management of our own sites. There is not issue with the legislation for managing our own sites.In our labour hire arrangements we request audited system documentation and performance stats on contract, and BDM's are required to hazard assessment 100% of site visits. We monitor site safety through our reporting systems, and where we identify persistent issues, have conversations with the site, but that does not always equate to changes in the Host systems. There are paradigms when government and industry use labour hire staff, that if they injure one, they can just get another one in their stead, and they do not let the injured staff member back on site until fully fit. As a business we have negotiated RTW programs with some of our Clients, where we do get staff back on suitable duties, and at times as a pro-rata pay and charge, but this is difficult as there is no legislated support. The legislation should reflect the reality of the management of safety, not some ideological concepts using a employer or contractor models where the PCBU has direct control of safety of their own staff. There is only one area where on-hire companies can exert safety controls on their staff on site, and that is where the contract requires a managed service and the on-hire company has a supervisor on site. How can this be made clearer ? - Where a Host PCBU exerts site control, systems control and supervisory control of work being conducted, that PCBU has the ultimate responsibility for WHS at the site unless the Host subrogates supervisory site control of the on-hire staff to the on-hire provider. Where this can get a bit difficult to legislate is when the Host sub-contracts and subrogation site control to a e.g. surgeon who hires an operating theatre from a public or private hospital and their equipment. The Surgeon has his own team and brings in an on-hire nurse to theatre tech to either replace a missing staff member. Who is responsible for the theatre risk assessment prior to surgery, and does this in fact occur, particularly in urgent surgical procedures. Having a shared responsibility in these scenario's creates significant confusion and any risk assessment rendered ineffective as theatres are hired on a time basis.