New Work Health and Safety Act
You will hopefully be aware that the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 commenced on 1 January 2012, replacing the previous legislation: OHS Act 2000 (NSW). The WHS Act 2011 and associated Regulations and Codes of Practice, are available via the following links to the WorkCover NSW or Safe Work Australia websites:
New provision for work area Health and Safety Representatives (HSR)
There is provision in the new legislation for an additional health and safety consultative mechanism via work area HSRs, which may also sit within, or be separate to, the University's current consultative mechanism (The University Health and Safety Committee, Faculty and Division Health and Safety Committees, and their elected members).
Further details are available here
Find out more about Health and Safety Representatives, and their function and responsibilities under the new legislation:
Do you need a HSR?
The role of a HSR in the new legislation has been included to provide a specialist health and safety advisory role to assist businesses to comply with the various requirements of the legislation. Any person may be elected to the role, however there is a requirement for nominations by a workgroup in line with the workgroup structures and elections as is the case in any democratic election process. The person undertaking the role will be provided with information and instruction on the duties and functions of the HSR by attending a training course (5 days). Following the course, they will be assessed by WorkCover and if approved, able to perform the functions.
Additional support to the existing structure
Having a HSR in a workplace is not a requirement. It is an option that is now available under the new legislation. The University's current consultation mechanisms via Faculty and Divisional Committees and the University Health and Safety Committee will continue to function and the Health and Safety Team will remain able to assist at any time with Health and Safety information, assistance and intervention. Any HSRs will be in addition to the current support structures.
Need more information or advice?
If, following review of the above information, you feel that your work area may be in need of a HSR, please contact the Health and Safety Team who are also able to provide advice regarding the new legislation, or discuss any questions you may have regarding Health and Safety Representatives, or Health and Safety consultation at the University.