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Good News About SafeWork NSW’s Updated HSR Courses

Weekly WHS Article 23rd February 2023


Yes, good news. Always welcome.


In late 2022 SafeWork NSW completed a review of the SafeWork NSW developed Health and Safety Representatives (HSR) Training Course Material, for both the initial five day course and the one day refresher course.

The updated material has corrected any errors or outdated references in the previous version, and the layout and readability has been improved. And the documents are now updated in line with the Department of Customer Service Style Guidelines.


They have created new attendee course packs. One pack for each of the 5 days of the course. They have also successfully created a facilitator’s guide for each day of the course that;

  • is designed to aid the delivery of the Health and Safety Representative (HSR) Training Course in NSW,

  • outlines a range of activities that are designed to enhance facilitator delivery of the workshop, learner engagement and learning of the content,

  • is written to guide facilitation of training in either a face-to-face or online setting.

We at Courtenell have delayed writing an article on the release of the new course materials until now when we have completed a good number of deliveries using the SafeWork NSW updated materials of the 5 day HSR course.

The following bullet points about the new course materials are the experiences and views of our HSR trainers and key staff members;

  • The materials and most exercises that required an update have been updated, making the course look 'fresher' and more 'today'

  • Having videos included by SafeWork to 'show' participants specific workplace situations is great and very handy to have an alternative or addition to 'discussions/exercises'.

  • Running this course virtually with the new materials seems a very good fit. The 'old' materials didn't really suggest the course would be done virtually with the use of technologies such as Zooms' 'breakout rooms', 'polls', 'chat' etc.

  • The number of course materials prompted 'group discussions' and 'exercises' appears to have expanded with the new course and this is a good thing - it allows participants to stop listening to me and start working together, alone, or conduct an open discussion with the entire class

  • Courtenell’s creation of the 'fillable' course review activities is a real winner in virtual HSR courses. Most participants I'm finding really appreciate being able to fill in the form online, save it and send it to me to end the course. As opposed to using a pen on paper, scanning the document, then emailing it to me. Saves quite a bit of time, saves me chasing those documents, and because of the speed at which participants can fill in, save and send, it allows us to have a much stronger close out discussion on day five that we would otherwise have.

  • Module 2 (day 2) of the new HSR pack gets into good deal of info on HSCs and their relation to HSRs. SafeWork states that it is the norm now that worker reps on HSCs are HSRs. Obviously this applies to sizeable companies that have their workgroups and HSRs established. An HSC is positioned as an additional resource for the PCBU to reach the workforce in matters to be consulted. There is greater clarification here.

  • The HSC content from Module 2 draws from the Code of Practice, WHS Consultation, Cooperaton and Coordination which is itself an excellent expansion of information from the WHS Act (there is nothing in the WHS Regulation on HSCs) and with the same clarity as the SafeWork NSW Fact Sheets on the above mentioned subjects. So the Code of Practice and SafeWork NSW’s 3 Fact Sheets are consistent with each other. Therefore the HSR materials are clearer in communicating the subject, expectations, and duty holder relationships.

  • The Code of Practice is written in such a way to really clarify the points from the Act which are by themselves just face-value statements with no expansion. It is also written quite simply so as to be easily understandable.

  • In my opinion the new HSR materials has livened up the subject, and by drawing heavily on the Code of Practice have made the subject a bit more lively and less clinical, and easier for people to get a broader concept of the WHS law and the basic concept of there being 1) Duty Holders, 2) Duties, 3) Duties are not transferrable , 4) A duty holder can be in different classes of duty holders.

  • Very appropriate that SafeWork guidelines are not there to replace the discretion and judgement of the facilitator of the HSR course. The facilitator is free to use their discretion about the course activities, timing and areas of focus as needed depending upon the learner cohort, group size, specific needs and other factors. Very sensible.

  • I really like the new materials. I think SafeWork has risen to the occasion!




Good News About SafeWork NSW’s Updated HSR Courses
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23rd February 2023








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