Health & Safety Reps09-03-2010
Occupational Health Safety and Welfare Representative and Deputies (HSR)
HSRs are elected (for a term of 3 years) by their co-workers in their 'work group' to represent them on health and safety matters, including making representations to management and reporting back to work group members. So what does an HSR do? Here's an overview:
- They are a key link in ensuring that consultation, as required by the OHSW law, takes place between the employer and its employees, on matters that may affect workers' health, safety or welfare.
- In DECS and TAFE workplaces the principal, director or other manager is considered, by the OHSW Act, to be 'management', rather than a member of the work group, even though they actually are employees and are often union members.
- HSRs are entitled to receive 5 days paid training each year to support them in developing confidence, skills and knowledge in this role, which is a powerful one, supported by the OHSW Act. Advice and support is also available from AEU staff.
- The AEU encourages existing HSRs to be active union members and to work closely with the Sub-branch Secretary or Workplace Representative in addressing workplace issues which often have both an industrial and an OHSW angle.
- Not all workplaces have Deputy HSRs and OHSW committee members. Where they do, however, there are the same opportunities for working cooperatively with the Sub-branch.