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What are the responsibilities of an HSR under the new legislation?

HSR's are unless requested by a worker. HSR's will be elected by the workers in their work group to represent them for a period of three years. A work group is a group of workers who share similar work health and safety concerns

The difference between the roles of the health and safety representative (HSR) and a current occupational health and safety representative (OHS rep (NSW) begins with the training.

A HSR will undertake a 5 day training course (currently 4 days) which will allow them to:
  • direct a worker to stop work if they reasonably believe the worker could be exposed to a serious risk to their health and safety
  • issue a provisional improvement notice (PIN) to someone, if they believe there are reasonable grounds that a person is in breach of the work health and safety legislation.
A health and safety representative is eligible for re-election after three years (up from the current two years) and can request a person conducting a business undertaking (PCBU) to establish a health and safety committee.

Inspecting the workplace
A health and safety representative must give the PCBU notice that they wish to inspect the workplace, but notice is not necessary in the event of a fatality, serious injury or illness, or a dangerous incident.

This means that if you are a health and safety representative you will be able to:

  • investigate health and safety concerns raised by workers in their work group
  • accompany a regulatory authority inspector during an inspection eg WorkCover
  • attended health & safety interviews between a worker and their work group, and regulartory inspector and/or PCBD.  The does require the consent of the worker/s involved.
  • receive work health & safety information - eg legislative updates, subscriptions to work health & safety newsletters etc
  • request assistance from any person eg external consultant, or from a regulatory body where a work health & safety issues remains unresolved
  • meet with the PCBU on health & safety matters
  • participate in all health & safety matters that affect their work group
  • represent workers outside their work group if there is a serious risk to health and safety or if a member of another work group asks for help and their elected HSR or deputy HSR is not available
  • request that a health and safety committee be established
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