Information for health and safety representatives

The experience and knowledge of employees can make a significant contribution to identifying and controlling hazards and risks, and developing preventative measures to address health and safety issues that arise at the workplace.

To help health and safety representatives (HSRs) better understand their role, this section provides a range of useful information and guidance.

How to consult with your employer

Consultation with your employer is a crucial part of your HSR role. For more information on how this is done, WorkSafe has developed the following:

Health and safety committees

Health and safety committees (HSCs) are an effective way to share information and consult on OHS matters. Employers must ensure committee operations are well supported by management, with facilities, resources, information and time to implement action. More information on HSCs is available in this fact sheet:

Issue Resolution

Issue resolution is a process for dealing with occupational health and safety issues that arise in the workplace or as a result of the conduct of the undertaking of an employer.

The process for resolving issues is meant to assist workplaces reach a timely resolution, and includes factors to be taken into account while the issue is being discussed.

Further information on issue resolution can be found here:

Provisional Improvement Notices

A provisional improvement notice (PIN) is a formal notice given to an employer by their HSR. A PIN can be issued by a HSR when they believe there has been a contravention of the OHS Act or regulations in their workplace. A PIN is issued when consultation between the HSR and employer has failed to resolve the health and safety issue. For more information on PINs, please read:

Completing a PIN

To help HSRs provide all the relevant information that is required to issue a valid PIN, WorkSafe has produced this publication:

When completing the form remember that:

  • a PIN can be issued to any "person" on whom duties are imposed by the OHS Act (this includes body corporate, unincorporated or a partnership)
  • a PIN can only be issued by a HSR elected under the OHS Act (or deputy HSR when the HSR is unavailable)
  • if you have identified more then one health and safety issue, you should complete a separate PIN for each issue.
  • providing your details at the end of the form will assist a WorkSafe Inspector in contacting the person who issued it (should the PIN be disputed by the person who received it)
  • HSRs are advised to keep a copy of their completed PIN for their own records.

It is important to note that a HSR may only issue a PIN after they have consulted with their employer about the alleged health and safety contravention and the issue has not been remedied.

Consultation prior to issuing a PIN

WorkSafe considers consultation to have occurred if:

  • The HSR provides information - verbally or in writing - to the "person" about fixing the alleged breach or activities causing the breach. At this point the HSR doesn't need to specify which part of the Act or regulation the issue relates to (though the HSR can do so if they wish)
  • The HSR has allowed the person an opportunity to express their views and has given them adequate time to fix the contravention
  • The HSR has taken into account the views of the person before issuing the PIN.

Consultation can still be said to have occurred even if:

  • The person does not respond to the HSR in a reasonable time or at all
  • There is no agreement between the HSR and the person. The person does not have to agree that there is or is likely to be a safety contravention or agree on how to fix the matter
  • The HSR has pre-prepared the PIN which is subsequently issued to the duty holder (or their representative), after the conclusion of the consultation process.

Safety and Prevention

The aim is to make every workplace safer for Victorian Workers. This section has tools, tips and guides to make your workplace safer. Learn about the risks industry, how to minimise the risk of injury, and legal duties. This  information for HSRs, Managers, Supervisors , Workers and and anyone interested in workplace health and safety.

Injury Hotspots (statistics And Solutions)

The Injury Hotspots homepage, where you can find out injury statistics for your industry as well as practical solutions for making your workplace safe.

Worksafe's Injury Hotspots information sheets give an industry-wide snapshot of how people get injured and what can be done to prevent these injuries.

Discrimination

The OHS Act prohibits an employer from dismissing, discriminating against or treating an employee less favourably, because they are or have been a HSR. For more information on how WorkSafe supports HSRs, please review  WorkSafe's HSR Policy Positions.

WorkSafe Inspectors

WorkSafe's Health and Safety Inspectors play a vital role in ensuring that workplaces meet their OHS obligations. They assist and  advise employers, supervisors and workers on how to make workplaces safe and  undertake enforcement action to make sure health and safety laws are complied  with.  They also assist HSRs in their role of representing workers on OHS issues.  To find out more information about WorkSafe inspectors read:

Internal Review of Inspector's decisions

A HSR or  an eligible person can ask WorkSafe to review a range of decisions made by its  Inspectors.  Such decisions are referred  to as "reviewable decisions" and include refusal to make a reviewable decision.   Internal Review of such decisions is a prerequisite to seeking external review.
  The review function is managed by WorkSafe's Internal  Review Unit which is designed to provide an accessible, timely and transparent  decision making process. For more  information see:

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