Your questions answered: Can management oppose the election of a health and safety representative?

By Portner Press on November 29th, 2018
  1. Risk Management
  2. Workplace Safety

 

Q
If a candidate has 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? Our business is based in Western Australia.

 

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.

You can learn more about HSRs in the following chapters of the Health & Safety Handbook:

C3 Consultation, Representatives and Committees

U1 Unions

H6 Hierarchy of Control

R1 Record and Document Management

I1 Incident Reporting and Investigation

W1 Workers’ Compensation

A2 Audits, Inspections and Reviews

Comprising more than 70 chapters, the Handbook is your go-to guide for all areas of workplace health and safety law.

 

 





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