Do I need to consult with workers regarding confined spaces?
Consultation with workers and their health and safety representatives is a critical part of managing work health and safety risks.
You must consult your workers who are involved in carrying out work in or near a confined space during the process of identifying hazards, assessing risks and implementing control measures.
It is often more effective to involve a team of people in the risk management process to draw on a range of knowledge and experience, for example knowledge of:
- the particular confined space under assessment
- any work methods that will be used in or near the confined space
- confined space hazards and control measures.
CONSULTING, CO-OPERATING AND CO-ORDINATING ACTIVITIES WITH OTHER DUTY HOLDERS
Sometimes more than one person conducting a business or undertaking will have the same duty in relation to a confined space. For example, a person who owns the plant or structure that contains the confined space will have management or control of the confined space. A contractor engaged to carry out work in the same space will also have management or control of the confined space at the time that work is being carried out. In these situations, effective communication, co-operation and co-ordination of activities between duty holders is essential to ensure that risks associated with the confined space are eliminated or minimised as far as is reasonably practicable.
Further guidance is available in the Code of Practice: Work Health and Safety Consultation, Co-operation and Co-ordination.