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HSR Update: free online information session for HSRs

HSR Update: free online information session for HSRs

In May, the Branch’s occupational health and safety team ran their first 2023 HSR Update session.

This free online session was well attended and provided Health and Safety Reps (HSRs) and deputy HSRs with relevant, timely information about current OHS issues. Key discussions covered Designated Work Groups, how you go about renegotiating them, and when employers should be consulting.

Quite a few new HSRs attended and benefitted from the insights offered by their more experienced HSR colleagues. There was plenty of time for questions as well, with many great questions asked – such as:

My Designated Work Group (DWG) name is Nursing Level 1, however an issue has been raised that pertains to Nursing Level 2. I have raised the issue with the OHS Committee but movement in resolving it is very slow. Am I right in understanding that I cannot issue a Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN) for this hazard due to it affecting Nurses on Level 2, and them not being in my DWG?

It seems quite a simple question but is actually quite complex. Below is the answer that was provided to the questioner:

This is not entirely true – an HSR can issue a PIN for another DWG, but only in certain circumstances.

Generally, an HSR can only use their powers when OHS matters affect or may affect their DWG. However, there are situations where an HSR can exercise their powers, such as issuing a PIN, when the matter relates to a different DWG. This may occur when there is an immediate risk to health and safety that affects or may affect a member of another DWG or when a member of another DWG asks for your assistance, and it is not feasible for you to refer the matter to the HSR for this DWG (Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, section 59). For example, the HSR may be absent, and the matter needs to be addressed before their return.

Regardless of whether you can issue a PIN for another DWG in your situation, your employer still has a duty to eliminate risks to health and safety so far as is reasonably practicable (OHS Act, section 20). If an OHS issue has been brought to your employer’s attention but hasn’t been acted upon, there are several things that can be done to get a resolution:

  1. Make sure that this matter has been reported as an OHS hazard or incident.
  2. If there is an HSR for Nursing Level 2, speak to them about potentially issuing a PIN; you may be able to provide them with support. If there is no HSR for Nursing Level 2, speak to this DWG about electing their own HSR. You can issue a PIN in the meantime.
  3. Check if your workplace has as an OHS issue resolution procedure. If not, the procedure for resolving issues outlined in the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (regulation 25) applies. This provides a process for ensuring OHS matters are addressed in a timely matter and requires the employer to meet with the HSR/employees to try and resolve the issue.

We encourage members to contact ANMF if they have raised concern in relation to an OHS matter with their employer and this has not been satisfactorily resolved.

Missed the HSR Update? Never fear: there’s more scheduled

A second HSR Update event is planned for 24 August. This free Zoom event will provide another great opportunity for HSRs, deputy HSRs and members interested in OHS to gather the latest industry news; hear from fellow HSRs and OHS experts about industry specific OHS cases and how they were resolved; and interact with like-minded members.

During the event, ANMF OHS Officers will be addressing OHS specific workplace queries submitted by members. Please submit your questions at the time of registering for this event so that we can have all the answers you need. If you wish, you are able to remain anonymous when the OHS Officer addresses your question. Any unanswered questions will be responded to post event.

Save the date: HSR Update regional roadshow

During National Safe Work Month in October, two ANMF (Vic Branch) OHS officers will take to the road to visit multiple sites for a series of 90-minute face-to-face HSR Update events. Like the online version, these in-person events aim to generate more interest in/awareness around OHS among members, and will provide a great opportunity for HSRs and those members interested in OHS to meet their OHS officers.

There will be an opportunity to connect with likeminded HSRs / DHSRs after the events, when drinks and nibbles will be served.

Mildura Wednesday 4 October
Traralgon Thursday 5 October
Ballarat Monday 9 October
Horsham Tuesday 10 October
Warrnambool Wednesday 11 October
Geelong Thursday 12 October
Bendigo Wednesday 18 October
Melbourne Friday 20 October
Echuca Wednesday 25 October
Shepparton Thursday 26 October
Wangaratta Friday 27 October