Health and Safety Representatives Frequently Asked Questions

Your employer must consult you when:
  • identifying and assessing hazards or risks to health and safety in the workplace;
  • making decisions on how to control risks to health and safety in the workplace
  • making decisions about the adequacy of facilities for the welfare of the employees
  • proposing changes to be implemented that may affect the health and safety of employees

Any employee may ask his or her employer to establish designated work groups, and the particulars of the groups are to be determined by negotiation and agreement between the employer and the employees.

These negotiations should commence within 14 days of the request. An employer may also be the one to initiate negotiations. You can seek assistance from your union when negotiating DWGs. For further information visit WorkSafe Victoria guide on employee representation.

Under the OHS Act the term or an HSR is 3 years unless negotiated to be less prior to election. After that time an HSR can be re-elected. For further information visit WorkSafe Victoria for a guide on employee representation.

Strictly speaking, no. But it is important to remember that your employer obliged to allow you to take such time off work with pay as is necessary to exercise your powers as an HSR.

This might mean allowing you time off work to attend OHS committee meetings, WorkSafe Victoria inspections or any other activities that you involve yourself in as an HSR. You are entitled to appropriate pay if you exercise any of your powers on your day off work.
Prior to issuing a PIN an HSR must consult with the employer (or the person who is the recipient of a PIN) to address the issuing causing the PIN. This is to ensure that the employer has an opportunity to address the issue prior to receiving the PIN.

You can issue a PIN if you think the problem is contravening any provision of the OHS Act or regulations or has contravened the Act or Regs, and it is likely the contravention will continue or be repeated.

The PIN form is available on the WorkSafe Victoria website.
Incidents at a workplace which result in the consequences described below (notifiable incidents) must be reported to WorkSafe Victoria. This includes incidents that result in a person requiring:

  • medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance
  • immediate treatment as an in-patient in a hospital
  • amputation
  • serious head injury
  • serious eye injury
  • separation of skin from underlying tissue (for example de-gloving or scalping)
  • electric shock
  • spinal injury
  • loss of bodily function
  • serious lacerations

If a notifiable incident occurs in your workplace your employer needs to notify WorkSafe Victoria immediately by phone and submit a report within 48 hours.

The Health and Safety Committee is the consultation forum to look at wider workplace health and safety issues, such as development of policies, training programs, review of the maintenance schedule, employment of consultant and other functions.
Your employer must allow you to attend an approved course on paid time, pay the cost of the course and must pay any other associated costs with your attendance to approved courses.

The courses approved under this section of the Act (s67 of the OHS Act 2004) are both the initial 5 day course of training, and an annual 1 day refresher course. For further information visit WorkSafe Victoria guide on employee representation.
Yes, when an OHS issue arises at a workplace which involves an immediate threat to the health or safety of any person. In order to cease work, you must first consult your employer (or your employers representative).
A Provisional Improvement Notice PIN is a formal notice from an HSR to a person advising them that there is a health or safety problem at work which requires to be addressed. Generally a PIN is issued to the employer as they are in control of the workplace and have an obligation to ensure that it is safe and without risks to health. A PIN is used as a last resort to addressing an OHS concern in the workplace.
All WorkSafe Victoria inspectors carry official identification. When they enter your workplace, they will notify the occupier or person in charge, as well as any health and safety representatives, of their presence. As an HSR you have the right to attend the workplace inspection if the inspection will impact work of any members of your designated work group DWG. Inspectors can enter any workplace during working hours or when there is an immediate health and safety risk to any person.