1 min read

Does a health and safety committee chairperson have to be an employee?

Q: We are presently struggling to find volunteers for the chairperson role of our health and safety committee and are wondering what our options are.

Is it prohibited under health and safety legislation to appoint an independent non-worker to act as chairperson for the committee? Also, what processes do we need to follow to adjust the size of the committee, e.g. streamline the numbers or reduce managers acting as worker representatives?

A: Section 76 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) sets out the composition requirements for health and safety committees.

There is nothing in the WHS Act or the regulations that prohibits you from appointing an independent non-worker to act as a chairperson for your health and safety committee. However, you should seek agreement from your workers in accordance with section 76.

If the composition of your committee changes or you would like to make some changes, you will need to keep in mind the requirement in section 76 that at least half of the committee must be workers.

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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