Requests for election of Health and Safety Representatives
Any worker or group of workers may ask the person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) to facilitate the election of one or more HSRs. The PCBU must then facilitate the determination of one or more work 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.
How are work groups determined?
Work groups are determined through negotiation between workers (or their representatives) and the PCBU.
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.
To achieve this, the negotiations must determine:
- the number and composition of work groups to be represented by HSRs
- the number of HSRs (there must be at least one) and deputy HSRs (if any) to be elected for each work group
- the workplace or workplaces to which the work groups apply
- any other factors, including languages spoken in the workplace, hazards, diversity of workers etc.
HSRs and deputy HSRs must be elected by members of the work group they will represent. All workers in a work group must be informed of the election date as soon as practicable after the date has been decided.
All workers in the work group are given an opportunity to nominate for the position of HSR and vote in the election.
Workers from the work group determine how an election is to be conducted (if an election is needed). The PCBU must also be informed of the election date as soon as practicable after the date has been decided.
Members of the work group must be informed of the election outcome.
The election process may be informal, for example with a show of hands. Alternatively, it may involve a more formal process, such as the use of ballots. If the majority of the workers agree, the election may be conducted with the assistance of a union or other organisation or person.
Is an election always needed to vote for an HSR?
If the number of candidates nominated for the election equals the number of vacancies in the work group, the candidates are deemed to be 'elected' and there is no need for an election.
What is the role of the PCBU in an election?
The PCBU must provide any resources, facilities and assistance that are reasonably necessary to enable elections to be conducted.
The PCBU must not unreasonably delay the election of an HSR and cannot simply appoint a person as an HSR.
The PCBU must ensure that a list of each HSR and deputy HSR is prepared and kept up to date.
The list must be displayed in the workplace and a copy provided to SafeWork SA as soon as practicable after it is prepared.
How long is the term of office for an HSR?
The term of office can be up to three years. If re-elected, another term would begin.
A person ceases to be an HSR if:
- they resign as an HSR by giving the PCBU written notice
- they no longer work in the work group
- the person is disqualified from acting as an HSR
- the majority of the members (half the number plus one) of the work group decide that the person should no longer represent the work group.