Business decisions and actions can have health and safety consequences for employees. Better outcomes can be achieved when employees, and their representatives, contribute to the health and safety decisions that affect them.

There is an expectation that public sector managers understand their role in facilitating employee engagement and supporting positive health and safety outcomes. Best practice engagement involves providing a combination of formal and informal ways for everyone to participate in improving health and safety in the workplace.

You can improve engagement in your team by:

  • creating regular opportunities to talk about health and safety issues
  • listening to concerns and raising yours
  • actively seeking out and sharing views, information and discussing possible solutions
  • fully considering what your employees say before you make decisions
  • communicating decisions in a timely way.

It’s important that you create opportunities to proactively discuss what kind of engagement will work best for your work group. Adopt and implement practices that best suit the needs and expectations of your team and the nature of the work that you all do.

Why not use these questions as a checklist in your next team discussion:

  • What are the established practices and procedures for health and safety representation and consultation in your work group and agency?
  • What is your work environment like? Consider:
    • physical and psycho-social hazards and factors
    • working arrangements
    • shifts and rosters
    • work locations
    • hybrid and remote working
    • other factors that may contribute to health and safety.
  • What reasonable adjustments can be put in place to support two-way information sharing?
  • Is everyone well-informed, knows what is going on and do they have a voice in decision-making? If not, what practices do you need to change?
  • Is information about how to participate in health and safety and who to connect with visible and accessible in the work group?

By taking these small, but important steps, managers can improve employee health and safety, and help meet their obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011.

Find out more about the sector’s strategy to build better engagement in work health and safety (PDF, 1.2 MB) and the role of managers.


Name: Public Service Commission