Your questions answered: Is our national business required to have a health and safety representative in each state?

By Portner Press on January 14th, 2020
  1. Work Health & Safety Act
  2. Workplace health & safety regulations

Q
We are a national company, but our head office is based in WA. Is it a requirement for us to have health and safety representatives (HSRs) in each state? Also, is it a requirement in every State for HSRs to attend training, or is this something that we can decide ourselves?
A
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, and the company can hold an election of an HSR on its own initiative.

With regard 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;
  • ensure the HSR receives any entitlement that becomes due to him or her while attending training courses; and
  • pay for all reasonable costs in relation to the training courses.

In Victoria, you must:

  • provide facilities and assistance to the HSR;
  • allow the HSR, upon request, to attend the following courses:
    • an initial course of training in occupational health and safety after being elected; and
    • a refresher course at least once in each year, after completing the initial course of training,

where the course is:

  • approved or conducted by the Victorian WorkCover Authority;
  • relevant to the work of the members of the work group or the role of HSR; and
  • if applicable, chosen by the HSR after consulting with you (in the case where you refuses or cannot agree on a particular course and the Victorian WorkCover Authority need to determine a specified course for the HSR).
  • allow the HSR to take time off work to attend training courses with pay as he or she would otherwise be entitled to receive for working during that period; and
  • pay for all reasonable costs in relation to the training courses.

In the remaining States and Territories, you must: 

  • provide any resources, facilities and assistance to the HSR;
  • allow the HSR time away from work to attend training courses;
  • pay for all reasonable costs in relation to the training courses;
  • pay the HSR what they would otherwise be entitled to receive for performing their normal duties while they are attending the training; 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
  • if applicable, the HSR chooses to attend after consulting with you (in the case where agreement cannot be reached between you and the HSR and the regulator appoints an inspector to decide the matter).

If training is requested in any State or Territory 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.





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