Ensuring employees’ safety is one of the biggest responsibilities of an employer or business owner. But what if the employer is shirking from their duty? How will employees be able to raise their concerns and ensure that they are being provided with a safe workspace as mandated by law? This is where health and safety representatives (HSRs) come in.
Health and Safety Representative Definition
As the name implies, health and safety representatives represent workers on health and safety matters. Specific work groups are established through consultation and agreement between the business or employer and the workers involved. Nominees are then called, and an election is held to determine who will be the HSRs.
HSR Roles and Responsibilities
According to Safework NSW, as the workers’ representatives, HSRs perform certain duties and responsibilities with the former’s best interests in mind.
1. HSRs serve as a bridge between the workers and the business by facilitating the flow of information about health and safety between the two parties.
2. They keep track of the health and safety measures taken by the business or employer, investigate workers’ complaints, and look into anything that could potentially put at risk the health and safety of the workers they represent.
3. Health and Safety Representativescan direct the cessation of unsafe work when they have a reasonable concern that it would expose a worker to a serious risk. However, only HSRs who have completed approved HSR training are allowed to perform such a task. Also, a direction to stop work can be given only if the issue has not been resolved by consultation.
4. They can issue a Provisional Improvement Notice or PIN when they believe with reason that there is an infringement of the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.
Safety Rep Course
HSRs are entitled to choose and attend a Work Cover-approved training course in work health and safety for five days. They can also take a one-day refresher course every year during their term of office. If you’re currently a health and safety representative and you want to improve your knowledge of work health and safety practices, ATL Safety Solutions offers a five-day Health & Safety Representative course that will provide you with the updated information you need to fully understand and succeed in your role.
Below is the course schedule:
Day 1: Interpreting the WHS legislative framework and identifying key parties and their legislative obligations and duties.
Day 2: Establishing representation in the workplace under the WHS Act.
Day 3: Effective consultation: Participation in issue resolution and monitoring risk controls as an HSR.
Day 4: Monitoring PCBUs’ management of work health and safety: workplace inspections, recording findings and “notifiable incidents.”
Day 5: Issuing a Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN) and directing the cessation of unsafe work.
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