Health & Safety Representatives at the CSO
In 2017 PSA members at CSO requested the election of Health & Safety Representatives (HSRs) in their workplace. After negotiations between the PSA and CSO management, three HSRs were elected at the CSO in 2018.
Your PSA Delegate, Teri Southwell, was elected as HSR for the “Corporate Services & Secretarial Staff” workgroup. Alongside Teri, two other HSRs were elected for the “Legal: office & site visits” and “Legal: office only” workgroups.
What is a Health and Safety Representative (HSR)?
A HSR is a worker elected by their work group colleagues to represent the work health and safety (WHS) interests of that workgroup.
HSRs are distinct from Health and Safety Committees because they have different powers and functions. The powers and functions of a HSR are contained in s68 of the Work Health & Safety Act 2011.
It is important to remember that work health and safety also encompasses mental health. HSRs can take action on psychological as well as physical WHS issues. This includes work pressure, bullying, harassment, and violence.
The PSA encourages the election of HSRs in workplaces, as they are a powerful and effective tool in protecting the WHS interests of workers.
What does a HSR do?
A HSR can:
- Represent workers in WHS matters
- Monitor & review measures taken by management to address risks & comply with the WHS Act
- Investigate complaints about WHS from workers
- Inquire into anything that appears to be a risk to workers
- Conduct workplace inspections
- Accompany SafeWork inspectors during workplace inspections
- Request access to WHS data held by the employer, such as incident & injury reports
- Be present at interviews with a worker/s, with the consent of the worker/s
- HSRs are automatically entitled to be part of the Health and Safety Committee.
Additionally, if a HSR has completed the 5 day accredited HSR training course they have the following powers:
- Cease Unsafe Work: a HSR can direct workers to cease unsafe work if there is a serious risk of immediate or imminent danger.
- Provisional Improvement Notices (PIN): a HSR can issue management with a PIN when there is a safety problem and consultation with the employer has not remedied the problem.
An HSR cannot be held personally liable for anything they have done or not done if they have acted in good faith (s66).
A Democratic Process
HSRs must be democratically elected by workers in an open and transparent election process. HSRs are elected for a three-year term and can be re-elected. However, a HSR can be removed by the majority of workers in the work group if the workers believe the HSR is no longer acting in the best interests of the workers.
A Message from your “Corporate Services & Secretarial Staff” HSR – Teri Southwell:
“If there is anything that you would like to report you can do so without supplying your name, by leaving a note with the details of the issue on my desk. As long as the date is on the note it can be investigated.”
WHS Resources on the PSA website: https://psa.asn.au/category/resources/whs/
Members can contact the Member Support Centre on 1300 772 679 with any queries
Your PSA Delegate is:
Your PSA staff are:
What can you do?
- Print this bulletin and put it up on your notice board
- Become a PSA Delegate – contact your current delegate or PSA Organiser
- Interested in becoming a HSR in the future? – contact your delegate or PSA Organiser
- Attend the next PSA Members Meeting
- Encourage your colleagues to join the PSA HERE
- Like and Follow the Safer Together PSA Facebook page HERE