Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) are elected by their co-workers to represent them in health and safety matters. By electing a HSR, workers get more of a say on health and safety issues and receive extra protection under the law. Simply put, workplaces with HSRs are safer workplaces.
A HSR can speak up for workers’ safety, monitor risks and investigate concerns. The core role of a HSR is to:
- represent members of their work group concerning health and safety
- monitor health and safety compliance by employer(s)
- raise health and safety concerns with the employer on behalf of their workgroup
- work to resolve health and safety issues with the employer on behalf of their workgroup.
HSRs are not expected to be a technical expert, or an 'enforcer' of safety rules. It is the duty of the employer or their representative to ensure work is healthy and safe. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a HSR for performing their role.
The rights and powers of HSRs are protected by law. Health and safety laws vary between States and Territories. To check what laws apply at your workplace, contact your union.
Funding for this factsheet was provided by the Victorian Government as part of the UTECH project. Please note that the information given here is general information only and is not legal advice. For further assistance, it is recommended you speak to your union.