Health & Safety Representatives (HSRs)

Under the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act (effective 29 July 2024):

Election of HSRs

A person conducting business or undertaking (PCBUs) must inform workers of their ability to request for the election of 1 or more HSRs in the workplace:

  • This includes notifying workers of the process of the election, the process of determining work groups and confirming who can represent workers in negotiations, as well as the powers and functions of HSRs.

Role of HSRs

The primary role of an HSR is to represent the health and safety interests of a work group and to raise any issues with their employer.

An elected HSR is entitled to perform the following tasks for the work group:

  • undertake workplace inspections
  • review the circumstances of workplace incidents
  • accompany a Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) inspector during an inspection
  • represent the work group in health and safety matters
  • attend an interview about health and safety matters with a worker from the work group (with the consent of the worker)
  • request that a health and safety committee be established
  • participate in a health and safety committee
  • monitor compliance measures
  • investigate work health and safety complaints from work group members
  • inquire into any risk to the health and safety of workers in the work group
  • issue provisional improvement notices and direct a worker to cease unsafe work (where the HSR has completed the approved training).

In addition, where there is a WHS issue that cannot be resolved at work, the HSR may seek the assistance of a union.

Powers of HSRs

Elected HSRs have new powers to direct the cessation of unsafe work by issuing a direction to a PCBU for the PCBU to directs workers to cease work:

  • Subject to meeting some conditions, including first consulting with the PCBU, issuing the direction in writing, and the HSR issuing the direction representing workers in the affected work group
  • A cease work notice will remain in force until it is withdrawn in writing by the HSR, the issue is resolved with the assistance of a WHSQ Inspector, a WHSQ Inspector issues a prohibition notice, or the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) decides or deals with the dispute.

Need more information?

For assistance in managing the HSR process, and understanding their function and powers including cease work directions, contact us.

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