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HSRs—Information for PCBUs

Health and safety representatives

A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must provide the resources, facilities and assistance that are reasonably necessary to allow the election of health and safety representatives (HSRs).

HSRs provide the vital communication link between people at work and the PCBU.

Comcare has developed a guidance fact sheet for PCBUs on issues related to HSRs. These include:

  • How a HSR is elected
  • Who can be a HSR? 
  • How long is the appointment of a HSR? 
  • Can a HSR be disqualified? 
  • Can a HSR be personally responsible for mistakes?
  • Can a HSR represent workers outside their workgroup? 
  • What are the functions of a HSR? 
  • Is a HSR a member of a HSC?
  • Can a HSR have somebody assist them? 

We recommend you read this fact sheet and become familiar with it.

Training for HSRs

Training for HSRs is not mandatory. However, if a HSR makes a request for HSR training then the PCBU must allow a HSR to attend an approved training course in work health and safety.

The following table sets out courses of training in work health and safety that a HSR is entitled to attend.

The course of training for a HSR must:

  • Be approved by Comcare.

Be chosen by the HSR in consultation with the PCBU. This means the HSR must inform the PCBU of the proposed course and give them the chance to present views about the suitability of the proposed course and suggest alternatives, which the HSR must take into account when deciding which course to attend.

The PCBU and the HSR should agree on which training course to attend. Issues that might be considered include:

  • Timing of attendance.
  • Cost, where prices differ substantially.
  • Costs of attendance for remotely located workplaces including travel and accommodation expenses. (In such circumstances, the arrangements that would apply for any other work-related professional development courses will determine what is reasonable.) 
  • The relevance of any hazard-specific course to the workgroup.
  • The total number of workers requiring training. 

If you or a HSR cannot agree about which HSR training course to attend then either party may ask Comcare to appoint an inspector to decide the matter.

If a HSR or a deputy HSR is re-elected in the same workgroup and has already taken part in an initial five-day HSR training under the WHS Act, then the HSR does not have an entitlement to take time off work with pay to attend the five-day training course again. However, the HSR is entitled to one day's refresher training each year following the completion of initial training.

PCBUs may agree for HSRs to attend or receive further training as relevant to their role, for example, attending a conference.

Once trained, HSRs have the power to issue Provisional Improvement Notices (section 90) and direct unsafe work to stop (section 85).

List of HSRs

It is a requirement under section 74(2) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) that PCBUs provide a copy of the up-to-date list prepared under section 74(1) of the WHS Act to the regulator as soon as practicable after it is prepared.

You can do this by emailing your list to hsr@comcare.gov.au

Contacts

Page last updated: 28 Aug 2015