Health and Safety Representatives

Become a Workplace Health & Safety Representative (HSR)

Health and safety representatives (HSRs) play an important role in representing the health and safety interests of workers in a work group.

The primary role of an HSR is to help communicate information about health and safety between employers and the workers.

HSRs represent workers on health and safety matters through ongoing consultation and cooperation between workers of a work group and an employer.

The powers and functions of an HSR are to:

  • Represent workers in a work group on work health and safety matters;
  • Monitor work health and safety actions taken by the employer;
  • Investigate work health and safety complaints from workers of the work group; and
  • Look into anything that might be a risk to the workplace health and safety of the workers they represent.

If an HSR has completed approved HSR training, they can exercise additional powers:

  • To direct unsafe work to stop when they have a reasonable concern that carrying out the work would expose a worker of their work group to a serious risk; and
  • To issue a 'Provisional Improvement Notice' (PIN) when they reasonably believe there is a contravention of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012.

The 6 steps to electing a HSR in your workplace

Your CFMEU organiser can help you to organise for a HSR to represent your Workgroup. The steps below are an outline of what’s involved, but the CFMEU can help you through the process if you get in contact.

1. Request is made to the employer (PCBU) to form workgroups & have elected occupational Health and Safety Representative/s (HSR).
The employer (PCBU) must commence negotiations with the workers within 14 days after a request is made.
Part 5 Consultation, representation and participation Division 3-Health and safety representatives Subdivision 1-Request for election of health and safety representatives Section 50 - Request for election of health and safety representative WH&S Act 2012

2. Establish Workgroups
Subdivision 2 - Determination of work groups Section 51-Determination of work groups

3. Determine how the election will be conducted.
The work group will decide how an election will be held. The person conducting the election is responsible for conducting the ballot. The work group needs to agree on who this will be. The person conducting the election cannot be a candidate in the election but can be someone from another work group. The election can be conducted with the assistance of a person from outside the organisation (such as a CFMEU organiser) if the majority of the work group agrees.

4. Call for Health and Safety Representative nominations.
Subdivision 4-Election of health and safety representatives Section 60 - Eligibility to be elected

5. Conduct Health and Safety Representative Election. Vote is counted.
Section 61-Procedure for election of health and safety representatives
Section 62-Eligibility to vote
Section 63-When an election is not required

6. Health and Safety Representative Elected.- For a term of 3 years

Section 64 - Term of office of health and safety representative