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Answers to Common Questions about HSRs or a Health & Safety Committee

We hear a lot of common questions about Health and Safety Representatives. Here are some of the common questions and answers. We hope these will help you.

  • What training should we give to the HSRs who are the worker reps on our Health & Safety Committee?

  • Answer: If your HSRs are already trained to be HSRs in the first place they may benefit from any one of the Courtenell WHS committee courses. These are courses are provided by Courtenell. There are no official courses of training for WHS committee members.

  • Can we train our HSRs on a HSC course instead of training them on the prescribed 5 day HSR course?

  • No. One does not need to be formally trained as an HSR to be an HSR. However, if a newly elected HSR asks for the training to be an HSR, then the business must provide that training at that point. This is where providing HSR training becomes mandatory. The SafeWork NSW 5 day Initial HSR course is the course they attend. (See Section 72 of the WHS Act.)


For HSRs who are also HSC members. HSRs are entitled to attend the Initial 5-day HSR course provided by SafeWork NSW if they choose to do it. As the worker reps on the safety committee it may be beneficial to also do a HSC-specific course of training as HSCs deal with workplace matters as opposed to HSRs who deal with workgroup matters. 

The reasons for this recommendation are;

  • HSRs may benefit by attending a formal course that is specific to the needs of the HSC, in addition to the training they undertake to be HSRs.


  • HSRs are the "worker representatives" on the HSC. There may be other worker representatives on the HSC who are not also HSRs. But they are all on the same team. It could be argued that training everyone on the same course no matter whether they are HSRs or not is WHS “best practice”,  

  • to help satisfy the requirements of the WHS Act, Section 19, which states that a PCBU (business entity) must ensure the health and safety of workers “so far as is reasonably practicable”,

  • it helps to provide evidence to SafeWork NSW that your workplace is committed to achieving effective consultation with workers (via the health and safety committee.)

Contact us if you need answers to your questions about HSRs or Health and Safety Committees.


This publication provides general information about WHS.

It is not legal opinion and does not represent a comprehensive

statement of the law to be applied to a particular problem

Issue 153

January - February 2022

​Published Bi-monthly

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