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Are we required to have health and safety representatives in each state?

Q: We are a national company, but our head office is based in WA. Is it a requirement for us to have health and safety representatives (HSRs) in each State? Also, is it a requirement in every State for HSRs to attend training, or is this something that we can decide ourselves?

A: You are not obliged to have a HSR in each State in which you operate.

Generally, a worker must request that a HSR be elected and then the company must facilitate the election process, which begins with workers deciding the appropriate work groups that the HSR will represent. However, in WA you are not obliged under the legislation to have work groups, and the company can hold an election of an HSR on its own initiative.

With regards to HSRs attending training courses, there are different requirements for each jurisdiction, as outlined below:

In WA, you must:

  • provide facilities and assistance to the HSR;
  • allow the HSR time away from work to attend training courses; and
  • pay for all reasonable costs in relation to the training course.

In Victoria, you must:

  • provide facilities and assistance to the HSR; and
  • allow the HSR to attend training courses.

In the remaining States and Territories, you must:

  • provide any resources, facilities and assistance to the HSR;
  • pay the HSR while they are attending the training as if they are at work; and
  • permit the HSR, upon request, to attend health and safety training that:
  • is approved by the safety regulator;
  • the HSR is entitled to attend under the WHS Act; and
  • the HSR chooses to attend after consulting with you.

If training is requested in any State or Territory outside of Victoria or WA, the training must be taken within 3 months of the request and you must pay the costs associated with it.

Please refer to chapter C3 Consulation, Representatives and Committees for more information on HSRs.

Please note: The answer is correct at the time of publishing. Be aware that laws may change over time. Refer to Health and safety representatives and committees for current advice.

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