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The Values of HSRs and Health & Safety Committee Members

Have you seen the video that SafeWork NSW released last month titled, “A Day in the Life of a HSR”. Your HSRs or Health & Safety Committee members might like to see it. Or workers who are considering standing for election as a HSR or HSC member might like to see it. You can view it on YouTube HERE

It’s only 1 min 48 seconds long and is the result of interviewing four HSRs from different workplaces. We found it particularly interesting because it included the HSRs saying why they wanted to be a HSR – statements like:

  • I’m passionate about the safety of my workmates

  • We all have to work together and be safety conscious

  • It’s really nice to meet all types of people across the organisation

  • I help with workplace inspections and take issues to relevant people.

  • I help with the workplace inspections, update noticeboards and take issues to relevant people

  • It gives the boys a voice through me to come up with a solution to a problem

  • It brings great confidence working in an environment that is safe

  • You are helping the organisation be safe by stepping up into a HSR role

Courtenell has been involved in delivering WorkCover NSW and then SafeWork NSW consultation courses for the past 24 years. The bullet point statements above are typical of beliefs or values voiced by course attendees over the past 24 years. HSRs and Health and Safety Committee Members are people who want to help. The WHS laws show that consultation is about more than just sharing information. It should be a two-way conversation in which workers have a reasonable opportunity to participate in the resolution of WHS matters at a workplace (see Section 48 WHS Act). And as pointed out in page 59 of the Safe Work Australia Review of the Model WHS Laws: Final Report; “The model WHS laws recognise the value of worker participation and representation in improving health and safety at the workplace. Processes and procedures in the laws aim to support genuine and effective consultation with workers through consultation procedures specifically agreed at a workplace, or through the election of HSRs and the establishment of HSCs.” And on page 62 of the Review of the Model WHS Laws: Final Report; “Research undertaken for SafeWork SA shortly after the model WHS laws were implemented indicates that managers identify the following benefits of meaningful consultation with their workers:

  • better outcomes when involving people with practical knowledge who ‘do the job’

  • more creative solutions as you hear different points of view

  • increased ownership of WHS decisions by workers, and

  • improvement in workers’ commitment to implementing change”


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