Frequently asked questions
- What is a Designated Work Group (DWG)?
A Designated Working Group (DWG) is a negotiated and agreed grouping of workers who share similar workplace health and safety concerns and conditions. It may be made up of workers in one or more workplaces operated by a single employer or workers of multiple employers at one or more workplaces.
- What is the pupose of a DWG?
A DWG is established to form the 'electorate' that may elect Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs). A HSR is a worker who has been elected by the members of their DWG to represent them on Occupational and Health Safety (OHS) issues.
- How do I get a DWG established?
A worker may ask his or her employer to establish a DWG or an employer can initiate the negotiation to establish DWGs. An employer must do everything reasonable to ensure that negotiations start within 14 days of the request.
- Who can be a HSR?
To be eligible for election, you must be a member of the DWG. DWG members may nominate themselves or another member of the DWG to stand for election as an HSR.
- How does a HSR get elected?
HSRs and deputy HSRs are elected by members of the DWG. The members of the DWG decide on the election process. It could be a show of hands or a more formal ballot process.
- What is the WorkSafe policy regarding HSRs?
WorkSafe believes the role of HSRs should be encouraged, supported and protected. WorkSafe believes there should be more HSRs, and that the establishment of designated work groups and the election of HSRs should be encouraged. For more information on how WorkSafe supports HSRs, please read WorkSafe's policy position.
- Can HSRs access the internet in the workplace?
In an environment where more occupational health and safety (OHS) information is being conveyed electronically (including WorkSafe information), WorkSafe supports HSRs having direct access to a computer and the internet in their workplace to obtain such information. For more information please read WorkSafe's policy position.
For more answers to frequently asked questions please refer to the:
Employee Representation handbook (PDF 810kb)
This guide is a comprehensive resource for HSRs. It has cross references to specific sections of the Act and answers many more frequently asked questions HSRs may have like:
- Can an HSR inspect any part of the workplace where members of their DWG work at any time?
- When can a deputy HSR exercise the powers of an HSR?
- Who should be on a health and safety committee?
- Does the employer have to keep a list of HSRs?
- When can an HSR issue a PIN?
- Who pays the costs associated with attendance at training?
HSRs can also call the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 or email: email@example.com