1 min read

Does a WHS committee member need extra training?

Q: Our construction services company in NSW has just elected its first WHS committee. Must we provide anyone with official training to be a part of the WHS committee? The workers are highly trained in their roles for high-risk work but do not hold any formal WHS training. No one has requested the training.

One committee member will be our company WHS manager, who has a diploma in WHS and a Cert IV in TAE. The rest of the committee will comprise our construction staff.

A: There is no requirement to train members of the Health and Safety Committee. However, if a member of the Health and Safety Committee is also a health and safety representative (HSR), you may have some training obligations on that basis.

Section 72 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) (Act) and section 21 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 (NSW) (Regulations) deal with the obligations of a PCBU in respect of HSR training.

The Act requires a PCBU to allow HSRs to attend a training course in work health and safety if requested. Otherwise, there is no mandatory requirement for HSRs to attend training.

If an HSR requests training, a PCBU must:

  • within 3 months of the request, allow the HSR to be absent from work to attend training; and
  • pay the course fees and other reasonable costs associated with attendance at the course in addition to the HSRs ordinary pay for the duration of the course.

The training course must be one that is approved by SafeWork, that the HSR is entitled to attend under the Regulations, and that the HSR chooses in consultation with the PCBU.

The Regulations provide further detail as to the type of course that an HSR is entitled to attend, which includes:

  • an initial training course of 5 days; and
  • 1-day refresher training each year, with the entitlement to the first refresher training commencing 1 year after the initial training.

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.

Subscribe to the Health & Safety Bulletin

From the experts behind the Health & Safety Handbook, the Bulletin brings you the latest work health and safety news, legal updates, case law and practical advice straight to your inbox every week.

Sending confirmation email...
Great! Now check your inbox and click the link to confirm your subscription.
Please enter a valid email address!