Skill up your safety reps

13 November, 2018

With accredited health and safety representatives on the decline over the last five years, businesses may be left lagging when it comes to communication about safety issues between employers and workers.

Less than 3500 reps were trained in WA in the 2017-18 which has coincided with a decline in the number of registered training organisations running the Worksafe approved course.

Industries accrediting a rep in that 12 months have included health care and social assistance (30 per cent), education (12 per cent) and training, public administration and safety just under 10 per cent each.

CCI has partnered with Elect Training and Consulting to deliver the five-day course at CCI’s East Perth office from December 3-7 and via customised delivery at your workplace on request.

Workplace Consulting Safety and Risk Consultant Matt Butterworth said safety and health reps, while not operating in the same capacity as safety coordinators or safety advisers, were an important source of information about OSH and performed a unique role.

“The safety rep is the conduit between the employees – so on the shop floor, the workshop and in the field – and the management, in terms of the resolution of safety issues,” he says.

“If the organisations are wanting to have a best practice level of communication and consultation in the workplace, the health and safety rep is a very good option.

“Having the rep trained in all aspects of health and safety and also accredited means they can issue provisional improvement notices, so it’s another level up in terms of that and in terms of the way safety compliance can be achieved.

“They provide an important function and are a very good way of demonstrating an employer’s duty of care obligations and provisions when it comes to safety at work.”

Butterworth says safety reps are integral to reporting on hazards and incidents in the workplace through a consultative process.

Elect Training and Consulting Director Mark Small he was pleased to join CCI as a strategic training partner.

He said the training would equip representatives with the confidence, skills and knowledge to represent their workplace.

Worksafe recently issued a reminder to workers and the community that hazards and incidents in their workplace can be anonymously reported by telephone or in writing.

Reports can also be made online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but it is necessary to provide contact details – which will not be divulged to the employer - so inspectors can make contact to obtain further information.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Ian Munns said reports and complaints could be made to WorkSafe in confidence.

“But if consultation does not resolve the issue, or if a worker does not feel comfortable reporting within the workplace, they can report the matter to WorkSafe and request an inspector’s intervention,” he said.

Further information on making a report, along with a link to the online reporting service, can be found on WorkSafe’s website at www.worksafe.wa.gov.au and telephone reports can be made on1300 307877.

The training will help a safety and health representative to understand and exercise their powers effectively with all elected safety and health representatives to ideally complete the training within 12 months of being elected.

► Equip your safety reps with the skills they need. The next course will be held from December 3-7. To register and to see when the courses for 2019 are being held click here