Health and safety representatives: role and responsbilities

Health and safety representatives and their deputies represent staff within a designated work group. The Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 gives them a range of rights when the health and safety of staff in their area may be affected.

They have the right to be consulted on:

  • proposed changes in the workplace or to materials, equipment or procedures
  • risk assessment of materials, equipment or procedures
  • development of OHS policy and procedures
  • investigation of OHS hazards and incidents
  • training, instruction and information on OHS.

They also have the right to:

  • direct work to stop when there is an immediate threat to health and safety
  • inspect any part of the workplace after giving reasonable notice to the head of the unit or controlled entity
  • attend workplace audits and inspections
  • access information on workplace hazards and health and safety of staff in their area, except for medically confidential information
  • use facilities and resources needed to perform their role
  • issue a Professional Improvement Notice (PIN) after other issue resolution procedures have failed
  • take paid leave for health and safety training.

Health and safety representatives:

  • must use OHS issue resolution procedures
  • should arrange for their deputy or delegate to cover his or her area when they are away.

Election of health and safety representatives

Staff within a designated work group elects a representative for a 3 year term. Any staff member can stand for election. If there is more than one nomination, the University prepares an electoral roll and sends out ballot papers. Nominees can include a statement to support their nomination.