Elections for Health & Safety Reps
Nominations will open soon for Health & Safety Representative positions and will close at 4:30pm on Tuesday 10 March 2015.
Nominations Open Soon for Health & Safety Rep Positions
Nominations are now open for the 2015 -2018 Health & Safety Representative term.
Download the nomination form.
If you have any questions about being a Health & Safety Representative, please contact AEU ACT Industrial Officer, Garrett Purtill (Garrett.Purtill@aeuact.org.au, 6272 7900).
Read the Health & Safety Representatives Guideline to find out more about the role.
Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) Guideline
Download the Guidelines.
The position, powers and functions of Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) arise from the statutory provisions of the ACT Work Health and Safety ACT 2011 and the ACT Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011. Further information and assistance can be found in the Worker Representation and Participation Guide, a publication of Safe Work Australia or WorkSafe ACT.
The primary duty of care to ensure the health and safety, so far as is reasonably practicable, of Directorate employees, volunteers, contractors, students and visitors rests with the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government as the Person(s) Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU).
Health and Safety Representative Role
The Health and Safety Representative role is central to achieving workplace safety through consultation; where safety matters are communicated and brought to the attention of Directorate management in order that the workplace be maintained and improved as a healthy and safe workplace.
The functions of the HSR are to facilitate the flow of information about health and safety between the Principal/Manager and the workers in the Health and Safety Representative's Designated Work Group. This supports obligations under duty of care requirements in managing Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) risks in the Directorate workplaces.
The Health and Safety Representative represents workers in their Designated Work Group in regards to WHS issues.
Health and Safety Representative Responsibilities
Health and Safety Representative responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
• representing the workers in relation to work health and safety matters
• monitoring the WHS compliance actions taken within the workplace, in line with Directorate policy and procedure to ensure compliance with the ACT Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and associated Regulations
• inquiring into anything that appears to be a risk to the health or safety of the Designated Work Group, arising from the conduct of the business or undertaking
• investigating complaints that are raised by members of the Designated Work Group about WHS matters and addressing all issues or concerns with the Principal/Manager
• addressing safety concerns at the Directorate Health and Safety Representative Network meeting.
In exercising a power or performing a function, Health and Safety Representatives may:
• inspect the workplace where their work group undertakes work at any time after giving reasonable notice to the Principal/Manager
• in the event of an incident or any situation emanating from an immediate or imminent exposure to a hazard involving a serious risk to the health or safety of a person, assist to make safe the area and ensure the Directorate Health, Safety and Wellbeing (HSW) section is contacted immediately
• receive information concerning the work health and safety of members in the Designated Work Group
• where necessary, and if fully trained, direct a school based employee, volunteer, contractor, student and/or visitor to cease unsafe work. Where action to address a significant safety issue has failed and as a last resort, issue a Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN) after consultation with the HSW section and relevant stakeholders
• in some circumstances, request a review of a site specific or Directorate WHS policy and procedure where they have not adequately reviewed the control measure as required under the WHS Regulations
• investigate/address safety concerns raised by their work group, in consultation with the Principal/Manager, and where required with specialist advice from the HSW section
• assist with the implementation of actions identified to mitigate WHS hazards and risks identified through school based safety audits or as part of accident/incident investigations and findings
• for risks relevant to the local profile, in consultation with the Principal/Manager and based on risk assessment, inspect the school based workplace at any time after giving reasonable notice
• if requested assist with attendance at interviews, between one or more people from the Health and Safety Representative's work group and if required, accompany a WorkSafe ACT inspector, Directorate Safety Advisor or WHS entry permit holder for the Directorate or Principal
• request the establishment of a health and safety committee
• whenever necessary, request the assistance of any person to carry out Health and Safety Representative powers and functions.
Health and Safety Representative Elections
Workers who have been nominated are eligible to be elected as an Health and Safety Representative or deputy Health and Safety Representative for their defined Designated Work Group. Where the number of nominations equals the number of vacant Health and Safety Representative and deputy Health and Safety Representative positions, an election is not required and each candidate is taken to have been elected. If there are more nominees than positions available then an election will need to be held.
Health and Safety Representative Term of Office
Health and Safety Representatives are elected or chosen to represent the interests of a Designated Work Group.
The term of office can be up to 3 years. Health and Safety Representatives are eligible for re-election, in which case another term of office would begin.
However, a person ceases to be a Health and Safety Representative if:
• they resign as an Health and Safety Representative by giving the Principal/Manager written notice
• they no longer work in the Designated Work Group
• the person is disqualified from acting as a Health and Safety Representative
• the majority of members (half the number plus one) of the work group decide that the person should no longer represent the work group.
The person is disqualified from acting as a Health and Safety Representative through an application for disqualification if a they have:
• exercised a power or performed a function as a Health and Safety Representative for an improper purpose, or
• used or disclosed any information he or she acquired as a Health and Safety Representative for a purpose other than in connection with their Health and Safety Representative role.
Health and Safety Representative Training
The following course providers are recommended by the Directorate HSW section and have delivered training tailored to school settings. These providers have been approved by WorkSafe ACT.
• National Safety Council of Australia (NSCA) [Approval Number WSACT HSRTRC-005]
• WorkWatch [Approval Number WSACT HSRTRC-008]
There is an initial HSR training course allowance for five days and refresher training allowance is for one day.
Other ACT HSR training courses that are currently approved by WorkSafe ACT are as follows:
• Australian College of Management Studies P/L [Approval Number WSACT HSRTRC-001]
• CIT Solutions [Approval Number WSACT HSRTRC-002]
• Creative Safety Initiatives [Approval Number WSACT HSRTRC-003]
• MBA Group Training [Approval Number WSACT HSRTRC-004]
• National Safety Council of Australia (NSCA) [Approval Number WSACT HSRTRC-005]
• Parasol EMT [Approval Number WSACT HSRTRC-006]
• SRC Solutions [Approval Number WSACT HSRTRC-007]
• Aspect Training [Approval Number WSACT HSRTRC-009
Time Commitment for HSR Position, Powers and Functions
It is difficult to quantify in time the exercise of the position, powers and functions of the Health and Safety Representative. There are many variables that impact on this such as:
• the risk profile of the workplace, and
• types of accident/incidents within the individual working groups.
The ACT Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (part 5, subdivision 5.3.6, section 70) states that the person conducting a business or undertaking must allow a Health and Safety Representative to spend such time as is reasonably necessary to exercise his or her powers and perform his or her functions under this Act.