The role of Safety and Health Representatives - elected representatives WA
This course is designed to cover all industries and operations in Western Australia under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1984, or, the Mines Safety Act and Inspection Act 1994. Appropriate legislation of the Act/s and Regulation/s will be referred to, dependent upon the industry the elected representatives work within.
It works for everyone - it makes sense for employers and workers to talk to each other about safety at work. Safety and health representatives can make a difference. A safety and health representative is the key to communication by making it easier to exchange ideas and concerns about safety between employers and workers. Safety and health representatives raise and discuss safety issues and concerns with employers and/or managers so they can work together and arrive at solutions to make the workplace safe. Workers sometimes feel more comfortable using their safety and health representatives to raise an issue or present an idea about occupational health and safety than going directly to management.
When everyone works together as a team, great things can happen, such as improving work conditions and keeping people safe. You can tell when you walk into a workplace that operates this way - workers feel involved, people are more committed to working safely, the working environment is happier, people want to work harder, productivity is higher, and there are less accidents and injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 encourages employers and workers to talk to each other about safety matters and work together, particularly through elected health and safety representatives and occupational health and safety committees. The commitment and efforts of health and safety representatives have helped reduce occupational injury and disease rates in Western Australia.
A Safety and Health Representative is chosen to represent workmates in matters of occupational health and safety. This important role is to help identify, communicate and respond to safety and health issues within the workplace.
The functions of a Safety and Health Representative are:
- To regularly inspect the workplace areas you were elected to represent at agreed times and frequency.
- To immediately investigate the scene and details of any accident, dangerous incident or risk of serious injury or harm to any person.
- To keep up to date with workplace safety and health information provided by the employer and liaise with government and other bodies.
- To report hazards in the workplace to the employer.
- To refer any matters that you think should be considered by the committee, where there is a safety and health committee for the workplace.
- To consult and cooperate with the employer on safety and health matters.
- To liaise with employers and employees about safety and health matters.