Your questions answered: Are there special requirements for health and safety reps?

By Jeff Salton on April 10th, 2018
  1. Safety Management
  2. Health & Safety Training



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


You are not obliged to have an HSR in each state in which you operate.

Generally, a worker must request that an 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. 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 jurisdictions, you must:

  • provide resources, facilities and assistance to the HSR;
  • pay the HSR while they are attending the training as if they were 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 jurisdiction 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 Consultation, Representatives and Committees in the Health & Safety Handbook for more information on HSRs. And for free and instant access to the Helpdesk, which is manned by the lawyers at Holding Redlich, make sure you subscribe to the Health & Safety Handbook today!

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