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Health and safety representatives (HSRs) are elected to represent members of a workgroup on health and safety issues in the workplace.
The representative has responsibilities defined under the Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) Act. To understand these responsibilities and ensure compliance with regulations, HSRs must complete training.
What Is HSR Training in Brisbane?
The training provides representatives with the knowledge and skills needed to carry out their duties.
During the program, attendees learn how to represent the health and safety interests of the workgroup. This includes learning how to monitor health and safety compliance and investigate safety issues. Workers also receive an overview of OHS (WHS) requirements and complete practical exercises.
The HSR courses are delivered face-to-face at approved facilities. The initial training lasts for five days and may include slightly different course content depending on the provider. However, legislation requires the program to last for seven hours per day for five days to give workers a total of 35 hours of training.
While the initial training is delivered face-to-face, workers may complete the one-day refresher course online. The online course takes about four hours to complete. Representatives may also elect to complete the refresher training face-to-face during a one-day course.
Who Should Attend HSR Courses?
Elected representatives and deputy HSRs must complete safety representative training at an approved facility. No other workers need to attend. The HSR election process includes the following requirements:
- Workers should receive a notice calling for nominations
- The notice should include the date of the election
- All workers can elect one or more representatives
- All workers are eligible for nomination
- All workers in the workgroup have the right to vote
- All workers should receive notice of the outcome of the election
After the election, the health and safety representative can enrol in the necessary training program. Elected workers are entitled to attend this training, and the employer is required to cover the cost.
The elected employee holds office for three years. After the three-year period, workers hold a new election. However, elected employees may also be disqualified or resign.
Representatives who fail to complete the required program forfeit their role. Additionally, members of the work group who elected the representative may vote to remove the person from their role.
What Is the Role of an HSR in Brisbane?
The role of the representative is to promote the health and safety of the workgroup that elected the HSR. The HSR acts as an intermediary between workers and management, helping to address safety concerns and ensure compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act regulations. OHS laws also outline the rights of the safety representative:
- The right to issue a provisional improvement notice (PIN)
- The right to direct work to stop
- The right to necessary training
- The right to information related to work hazards
- The right to establish a health and safety committee (HSC)
Elected workers perform many tasks to help prevent serious health hazards or dangers in the workplace. These tasks may include inspections, reviewing workplace incidents, and monitoring compliance measures. Representatives can also investigate health and safety complaints from members of the work group.
The representative has the responsibility to act as a safety advocate for workers within the workgroup. Employers also have responsibilities to ensure that HSRs can complete their duties and exercise their rights. The responsibilities of the PCBU include:
- Pay all costs for the relevant courses
- Maintain a current list of all representatives
- Provide copies of the list to the necessary regulators
Basically, the employer needs to provide the representative with the resources and assistance needed to complete their duties and training.
Is HSR Training Mandatory in Brisbane?
In the past, training was not mandatory unless the HSR requested to attend training. Changes to the legislation now make it mandatory for the elected worker to complete an approved five-day course.
HSRs must now attend the course within three months of their election or forfeit their role. If they do not complete the program, workers need to elect a new HSR.
Employers are required to provide elected HSRs with the time off needed to attend the program and cover the cost of the training.
After completing the initial five-day course, representatives receive a certificate of completion or attendance. WHS legislation does not require a statement of attainment or any accreditation.
What Is the Cost of HSR Training in Brisbane?
The average cost varies depending on the jurisdiction, provider, and the number of attendees. For example, some providers offer discounts for group training sessions.
In Melbourne, $800 is the average cost of the five-day program. In Brisbane, the prices are often lower, with an average cost of about $600.
If you or a member of your staff require HSR training, do not delay. Remember the new requirement. HSRs need to complete the program within three months of the election.
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