Worker representation and participation guide
Worker Representation and Participation Guide
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Safe Work Australia
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Appendix A: Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN) template
This Guide provides information on the representation and participation of workers in health and safety matters at the workplace, as well as guidance on resolving health and safety issues. It supports one of the objects of the Work Health and Safety Act (the WHS Act), which is to provide for fair and effective workplace representation, consultation, co-operation and issue resolution in relation to work health and safety.
Worker representation provides a means for facilitating consultation, involving workers and giving them a voice in health and safety matters. The WHS Act recognises that workplaces have better health and safety outcomes when workers have input before decisions are made about health and safety matters that affect them.
A person who conducts a business or undertaking (PCBU) must consult, so far as is reasonably practicable, with workers who carry out work for the business or undertaking and who are (or are likely to be) directly affected by a work health or safety matter.
Part 5 of the WHS Act allows for workers to be consulted and represented through health and safety representatives and committees:
A worker may ask for a Health and Safety Representative (HSR) to be elected to represent them on work health and safety matters. If a worker makes this request, work groups need to be established to facilitate the election. Where HSRs have been elected, the PCBU must consult with them.......
A Health and Safety Committee (HSC) brings together workers and management to assist in the development and review of health and safety policies and procedures for the workplace. A HSC must be established when a HSR or five or more workers makes a request to the PCBU.
Who is a ‘worker’?
Under the WHS Act, a worker is broadly defined to mean a person who carries out work in any capacity for a business or undertaking and includes employees, outworkers, apprentices, trainees, students gaining work experience, volunteers, contractors or subcontractors and their employees.
What happens to existing HSRs and HSCs established prior to the introduction of the WHS laws?
Existing HSRs, deputy HSRs and HSC members may continue in their role and will be recognised under the new WHS Act. Election processes for HSRs that have not been finalised by the time the WHS Act commences may be completed in accordance with previous laws and will also be recognised under the new WHS Act.
Workers may decide to either maintain the number and composition of existing work groups, negotiate new work groups to elect HSRs or vary existing work groups at any time following the commencement of the WHS Act.
For further information in relation to transitional arrangements for HSRs and HSCs in the Commonwealth and each State and Territory, contact the WHS regulator.
Work groups are formed to enable workers to elect HSRs to represent them on health and safety matters.
Any worker or group of workers may ask the PCBU for whom they are carrying out work to facilitate the election of one or more HSRs. The PCBU must then facilitate the determination of one or more groups of workers.
Work groups are formed by negotiation and agreement between the PCBU and the workers who will form the work group or their representatives.
What is the purpose of negotiations?
The purpose of negotiations is to determine how best to group workers in a way that most effectively and conveniently enables their health and safety interests to be represented and so that each member of the group can easily access their HSR.
To achieve this, the negotiations must determine:
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