Important HSR Update (February 2023)
FAQs for Safety Reps Trained under the OSH Act 1984
All previously Safety and Health Representatives/Health and Safety Representatives, elected under the former OSH Act, will have their term of office expire at a maximum of 30 March 2023 (if they haven't already been re-elected since 31 March 2022). Here's some FAQ's on what your options are... You can also contact your Union for advice.
Q I’m an affected HSR – what can I do?
We encourage you to speak with your colleagues and Union office - to discuss the number of Safety Reps in your workgroup and whether you and workers would like more safety reps. Did you know – workers/unions now have the ability to negotiate the number of safety reps and the areas they represent – workers do not have to settle for inadequate safety rep coverage!
To be re-elected, any worker or group of workers will need to request the election of one or more HSRs. Furthermore, you do not need to wait until 30 March 2023 to be re-elected for a now 3 year term of office. You’re encouraged to contact your Organiser or Union Office for further advice specific to your workplace (especially if there are other current reps in your workgroup).
Q I’m not affected – what can I do?
All union members are encouraged to check in with their Health and Safety Reps, past and present, and communicate this important message (even if they are not a union member).
If there are no HSRs in your workplace or not enough reps – read on!
Q I’m interested in being a HSR again or for the first time…
Under our new and improved WHS Act, now’s the perfect time to jump back in to the health and safety space, or become a first time HSR or encourage a colleague to become a HSR, with many important new and enhanced rights for safety reps. Read more here!
Together, elected Health and Safety Reps and Union Delegates, play a key role in making our workplaces safer. Make sure your workplace has both!
Further information is also listed below.
ELECTING SAFETY REPS
Does your workplace have an Elected Health and Safety Representative (HSR)? Union Delegates & HSR's working together can make a great team to represent workers on all workplace issues.
Find out more about the powers and functions of Elected Safety Reps online here.
If you and your co-workers are without a formal voice on Health and Safety in your working area (or, if workers want to elect more Safety Reps), we recommended the following steps to elect a HSR:
- Step 1 – Talk to your co-workers about who would be best to represent you on safety issues. This could be a worker interested in health and safety (perhaps yourself?) and could also be an existing union member or your Union Delegate, or any other worker)
- Step 2 - Talk to your Union – Ask your union arrange a visit to speak with workers (or an online discussion), or to issue union communication to help promote gaining a Health and Safety Rep(s). Note - under our new WHS Act, your Union can also assist with the election process itself, and negotiations for the determination of a workgroup (s52) which is the areas the HSR represents. Have a think about how many Reps are needed for the type of work/shift arrangements/locations, your workplace has. Find your Union contact details here
- Step 3 - Officially start the process by talking to your PCBU - Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (your Employer) to initiate the nomination/election process along with sending an email to your Manager (see suggested template email below). Note - if more than 1 person nominates for the same HSR position, an election will be held.
E M A I L T E M P L A T E
To: The Manager
Subject: Request for an election of a Health and Safety Representative
REQUEST FOR AN ELECTION OF HEALTH AND SAFETY REPRESENTATIVE FOR THE WORKPLACE
As a current employee I hereby request as per section 50 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2020 of my desire to have an election for a Health and Safety Representative for the workplace.
Your Full Name, Job Title, Company
Get Trained as a Safety Rep! Find out about Safety Rep training here.
Don’t delay! All workplaces need elected Health and Safety Reps.