Consultation with personnel is not just something you must do by law; it can also be a very effective motivational tool.
Legislation does require farms to consult with their personnel. However, what farms must consult about and how to consult is not always clearly specified. Should staff request the election of health and safety representatives or the establishment of a safety and health committee, a very clear procedure needs to occur, which we at ProcessWorx can assist with.
However, today we want to talk about consultation in general. Firstly, it’s important to establish communication processes such as:
- A notice board,
- The portal with access to policies and procedures, and
- Scheduled staff meetings.
We recommend holding staff meetings once every three months. Some of the topics we recommend discussing at these staff meetings include:
- Recent hazards and incidents,
- Recent changes to policies and procedures,
- Upcoming work on the farm,
- Ask staff for feedback about safety and allow staff to be involved in the development of new procedures,
- Present a safety topic (present one of the Farm’s procedures), and
- Present and review a few sections of the Risk Register.
The new Farm WHS Portal (currently being implemented) includes a ‘Toolbox Meeting Record Template’ which farms can use to keep a record of staff meetings.
The benefit of good communication with farm staff, and including staff in the decision-making process is that it begins to engineer staff buy-in. Staff buy-in means that staff feel ownership of the Farm’s procedures and will be more likely to champion their success.
ProcessWorx has just finished developing a new Farm Work Health & Safety System that together with ProcessWorx’s support will greatly assist farmers to meet their WHS duty of care under the new WHS legislation.