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Can we oppose or remove a person elected as a health and safety representative?

Q: When candidates have been elected for the position of a health and safety representative, does management have the right to oppose this person or remove them from the election?

A: In short, the answer is no. A health and safety representative (HSR) can only be removed from office when:

  • the majority of the work group members sign a written declaration to this effect; and
  • the HSR, the majority of work group members and any relevant PCBUs have been informed of the decision.

Please note that in Western Australia, PCBUs are not obligated under health and safety legislation to have work groups. However, you must allow an HSR to be elected if a worker requests it.

We also recommend caution when removing an HSR from office. PCBUs can be at risk of engaging in unlawful discriminatory conduct against a worker who exercises their right as an HSR. Discriminatory conduct will be engaged in where a worker is treated less favourably than another worker and the discriminatory conduct is for a prohibited reason, i.e. in this instance, it is undertaken because the person has been or proposes to be an HSR or member of a health and safety committee.

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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